Buckeyes Crush Leathernecks, 99-38

Five Buckeyes scored in double figures as the Ohio State women's basketball team blasted visiting Western Illinois 99-36 to close out nonconference play. Samantha Prahalis led the way with 22 points and seven assists.

The Ohio State women's basketball team wasted little time putting away an overmatched foe Tuesday afternoon at Value City Arena.

The sixth-ranked Buckeyes finished nonconference play and improved to 13-1 by beating visiting Western Illinois (4-8) by a final tally of 99-38, using a barrage of three-pointers to build a commanding lead in the first 10 minutes and never looking back.

Ohio State's lead was a meager 7-4 after WIU's Erica Lewis hit a jumper with 15:25, but the Buckeyes went on a 22-3 run over the next seven-plus minutes.

Samantha Prahalis started the decisive sequence with a three-pointer, the first of five consecutive Ohio State field goals from beyond the three-point arc.

Prahalis, the Buckeyes' sophomore point guard, found Brittany Johnson open in the right corner to set up a trey the next time the Buckeyes had the ball, and Ohio State's Tayler Hill soon followed with a make from nearly the same spot on the floor.

After Johnson connected again, Lunden Roberts hit a trey for Western Illinois, but by then the Buckeyes were smelling blood.

Prahalis hit another from long range, this time stepping back to free herself for a shot as the shot clock was about to expire, to start a 10-0 Ohio State spurt that really put a hurting on the visitors.

Prahalis also added a layup during the second run, while Andrea Walker and Alison Jackson had two points apiece and Maria Moeller added one.

The Buckeyes led 46-15 at the half, matching their largest lead of the opening 20 minutes.

At times using a full-court press, they forced 17 turnovers in the opening stanza and turned them into 21 points.

For the game, Ohio State forced 25 turnovers and held the Leathernecks to 27.5 percent shooting (14 for 51).

"We started off saying we were going to come out ferocious on defense," Lavender said. "We knew we were going to be switching defenses and we came out and played extremely hard from the beginning."

The up-tempo defense seemed to help the Buckeyes avoid a slow start such as they endured three days earlier in an eventual 78-54 defeat of Alabama A&M.

"I think it helps energize you," Ohio State head coach Jim Foster said. "I think we have a team that likes to get after it. We have a couple of players that are more comfortable in that framework and a couple of players that need to learn a little bit how to anticipate what's next when we're in that defense, but I thought all in all we did a good job."

The Buckeyes shot 61.7 percent (37 for 60) and were an effective 9 for 17 from three-point range (9 for 17).

The success from long range marked a significant difference from the Alabama A&M game, when Ohio State hit just 2 of 12.

Prahalis hit 3 of her 4 three-point attempts and made 8 of 11 overall to finish with a game-high 22 points. She also had seven assists and five steals.

Lavender added 20 points and eight rebounds from the post while playing just 23 minutes.

Johnson added 14 points and hit 4 of 5 treys, bouncing back from an 0-for-3 three-point performance in her previous game.

Hill and Jackson, with 10 and 11 points, respectively, also reached double figures as the Buckeye offense was clicking.

"I thought it really worked this game," Johnson said. "We made the extra pass and got wide open shots."

Lewis, with 11 points, was the only Western Illinois player to reach double figures in the scoring column.

The Buckeyes got the better of the visitors in every significant stat except for steals, where both teams had 13, making the 61-point victory - the fourth-largest in school history - a pleasant capper on the nonconference schedule and a good win before the team breaks for Christmas.

"You don't want to go home on a bad note, so we made sure we emphasized doing the little things - going after the loose balls, playing defense from the beginning - just so you can go home on a good note," Lavender said. "I think we did a good job making the extra pass and finding the open person, getting rebounds and just playing great defense from the beginning of the game."

Ohio State will return to action Dec. 28 with a trip to 8-2 Illinois. That game will serve as the first Big Ten game for the Fighting Illini, but the rest of the conference opened Big Ten play on the first weekend of December when the Buckeyes downed Wisconsin 70-55.

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