COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jantel Lavender had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Samantha Prahalis added 17 points and Brittany Johnson scored 15 to lead Ohio State (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) to a 78-71 victory over Syracuse on Wednesday night.
The Buckeyes (3-0) led 34-28 at the half and never relinquished the lead in the second half. Syracuse (2-1) narrowed a 16-point deficit to 61-54 on a layup by Erica Morrow with 6:56 left. But Johnson followed with a 3-pointer and Prahalis added a jumper, and the Orange never got closer than the final margin again.
Morrow had 23 points, Chandrea Jones had 14, Juanita Ward had 11 off the bench and Vionca Murray added 10 for Syracuse.
Lavender, last year's freshman and player of the year in the Big Ten, hit 9-of-10 shots from the field for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State hit 56 percent of its shots from the field in the second half.