OSU Women Cagers Rally Past Penn State, 86-73

Ohio State stunned 6,207 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center in Happy Valley, Pa., by rallying from a 14-point second-half deficit to defeat Penn State 86-73 in women's basketball Sunday afternoon. Samantha Prahalis scored 26 points to lead the Buckeyes, who made 17 three-pointers.

After a nightmarish first half, the eighth-ranked Buckeyes looked ticketed for a third consecutive road loss, but they rediscovered their defensive edge and stopped committing silly turnovers down the stretch and were rewarded with a victory.

Penn State (15-8, 7-6) led 48-37 at the half thanks in large part to 21 points off an astonishing 18 Ohio State turnovers.

That the Buckeyes (23-3, 11-2) were even within shouting distance was a testament to their three-point shooting prowess.

They made 8 of 13 three-pointers (61.5 percent) and 14 of 24 shots overall (58.3 percent) in the first 20 minutes.

Samantha Prahalis accounted for four of those while Brittany Johnson had a trio and Tayler Hill one.

Bentley, a freshman point guard, torched the Buckeyes for 16 points on 8 for 8 shooting from the floor. She had three assists and no turnovers while classmate Nikki Greene added 10 points in the post. She was perfect from the field as well, going 4 for 4 with a pair of free throws added in.

Supplementing the scoring effort from the first-year Lady Lions was senior Tyra Grant, who had 13.

Prahalis led Ohio State through one half with 12 points while Lavender added 10 and Johnson had nine. Eight turnovers marred Prahalis' line.

In the second half, the Buckeyes took better care of the ball, kept firing and kept finding success - but at an even greater rate. Meanwhile, the Lady Lion freshmen cooled off considerably.

With five players pitching in at least one make, the Buckeyes hit 9 of 13 treys after halftime.

Maria Moeller gave Ohio State a 70-69 lead with a three-pointer at the 5:58 mark, it's first lead since early in the first half.

Grant answered with a pair of free throws at the other end to put the Lions back on top, but that lead was short-lived.

Prahalis found Hill open in the right corner in front of the Ohio State bench for a three-pointer that put Ohio State ahead for good with 4:47 to go.

Moeller stole the ball from Bentley at the other end then hit another three-pointer of her own and suddenly everything was coming up Buckeyes.

Lavender intercepted a Bentley pass at the other end and Prahalis canned a trey to stretch the Ohio State lead to eight.

Bentley scored at the other end in the paint, but that was the only Lion basket in the last eight minutes.

The hosts started fouling to try to extend the game in the last two minutes, but the Buckeyes made 7 of 8 free throws to close it out.

The 13-point lead at the end of the game was Ohio State's largest of the day.

All told, the Buckeyes made 17 of 26 threes, or 65.4 percent.

Prahalis led all scorers with 26 points. She was 5 for 6 from three-point range, 7 for 10 from the field and 7 for 7 from the free throw line. She finished with 12 assists and nine turnovers, only one of the latter coming in the second half.

As a team, the Buckeyes had seven turnovers after halftime.

Lavender added 18 points while Johnson had 12 and Moeller had 10. Hill, who was benched to start the second half in favor of the more defensive-minded Little, finished with nine points. Hill returned to the game in place of Johnson, who appeared to suffer a sprained right ankle and left the game at the 15:09 mark. She did not return.

Little had only two points, two assists and one steal in 15 minutes, but her pressure on Bentley, the Lions' primary ball handler, was crucial in the second half when the Buckeyes forced eight turnovers and allowed the Lions to make only 9 of 26 field goals (34.6 percent).

After her nearly perfect first half, Bentley committed six turnovers with four points and zero assists in the second. She finished the game with 20 points.

Grant had a team-high 22 for Penn State, which also got double-figure scoring outputs from Greene (12 points) and Julia Trogele (11).

Penn State lost its fourth game in a row.

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