Prahalis-less Buckeyes run past Hoosiers in Big Ten blowout
A case of flu-like symptoms kept Ohio State point guard Samantha Prahalis out of her team’s Big Ten battle with Indiana (5-21, 0-12).
“She didn’t participate in shootaround this morning and then did some things through the course of the day to be ready but she was just too drained,” Foster said. “There was no juice there.”
Fortunately for the No. 9 Buckeyes (23-3, 10-3), they didn’t need their second-leading scorer and all-time assists leader to beat the Hoosiers 75-54 on Thursday night at Value City Arena.
OSU junior guard Tayler Hill scored a game-high 27 points and pulled down seven rebounds and Amber Stokes added 14 points and seven assists for a Buckeyes squad that got a look at what its 2012-13 roster will look like after Prahalis- the team’s lone senior- graduates.
“There was an understanding of what we want to do,” Foster said. “In a situation where you didn’t get to prepare for [Prahalis not playing], people stepping up and understanding where opportunities were is a good sign.”
An 18-4 OSU run to open up the game appeared to set the tone early for both teams, but a 13-4 Indiana run to close the first half left the Hoosiers trailing by just seven at intermission.
“In the first half, people were trying to make plays instead of reversing the ball. We had some people trying to make the play, trying to be a Sam,” Hill said. “If we just make the simple plays, the lay-ups and the shots will come.”
Hill’s prophecy proved to be true in the second half. OSU freshman forward Kalpana Beach came out firing, scoring six points in fewer than three minutes to help the Buckeyes stretch their advantage back to a double-digit lead. The Westlake-native turned in the best performance of her young Ohio State career, matching a career-high with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and pulling down eight rebounds.
“I had two quick fouls in the first half and I just knew that I had to pick it up so I just was kind of determined to do that,” Beach said. “I feel pretty comfortable but there’s always room for improvement.”
Beach’s career-best, coupled with the outside shooting of Hill, proved to be just two much for Indiana, who found itself trailing by as many as 26 points in the second half. Hill connected on a career-high seven 3-point shots on just nine attempts, a performance that she chalked up to her teammates finding her for open shots.
“You get high percentage shots when people are wide-open in the corner,” Hill said. “It was the ball reversal and the penetration. Amber would penetrate and then she’s commanding three or four people to her so you’ve got the kick-out or the lay-up is wide-open.”
With the Hoosiers in their rearview mirror, the Buckeyes are confident that they’ll have Prahalis back for a final week of the Big Ten regular season that could see them win their seventh regular season conference title in the past eight years. It won’t be easy, however, as the first of three games next week will come on the road at No. 12 Penn State (21-5, 11-3) with first place in the Big Ten on the lane.
“We’re going up there and we’re going to be ready to play,” Foster said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
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