BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana executed its defensive game plan against Ohio State and slowed down Jantel Lavender. The Hoosiers just didn't expect two of her teammates to score career highs.
Star Allen tied a career high with 22 points, Brittany Johnson set a career high with 18 points, and Ohio State (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) beat Indiana 79-67 on Sunday to move into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.
Lavender, the league's leading scorer with 21 points per game, finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds and only took seven shots for the Buckeyes (22-5, 13-3). She didn't need to shoot much with Allen handling business on the inside and Johnson knocking down jumpers. Allen shot 9-for-15 from the field and Johnson made 6 of 10 shots, including 2-for-5 on 3-pointers.
"I think it makes it extremely easy knowing you can be confident in a post player slashing down the lane and being able to finish under the basket," Lavender said. "Even with Brittany, I'm just confident in kicking the ball back to my teammates. I think that makes us a great team."
Allen entered the game averaging just under 10 points per game, but Indiana coach Felisha Legette-Jack knew the senior was capable of hurting her team.
"You hold one great player down, the other one shows up," Legette-Jack said.
Johnson started the day averaging just over six points per game, though she had scored in double figures her previous two games.
Ohio State is now a full game ahead of Michigan State and Purdue after the Spartans lost at Wisconsin earlier on Sunday. All three teams have two games left.
Ohio State coach Jim Foster said the Buckeyes weren't worried about the other game.
"Other people, they have to do their job and they throw the minutiae at you, but we do a good job of focusing on what's in front of us."
It was Ohio State's third straight win after back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Iowa.
Jori Davis scored 17 points, Amber Jackson scored 14 and Whitney Thomas added 10 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for Indiana (17-9, 10-7).
The Hoosiers ran out to a 23-13 lead midway through the first half, but a bank shot by Allen seconds before halftime tied the score at 33 at the break. Both teams shot 50 percent from the field in the first half. Foster was pleased that his team bounced back and made it a game.
"We learned early on this season that this team really plays hard when they get into that situation or circumstance," he said. "Unfortunately, we've seen it before, several times. It doesn't have an effect on us."
Ohio State led 63-50 in the second half before Ashlee Mells banked in a 3-pointer and Thomas made another three 11 seconds later to make it 72-67 with a minute left. The Buckeyes made 7 of 10 free throws in the final minute to pull away.
Ohio State shot 56 percent in the second half and held Indiana to 34 percent shooting after the break. The Buckeyes outrebounded Indiana 38-31.
It was a disappointing result for Indiana, which has improved this season but lately has struggled to beat the elite teams in the league. The Hoosiers lost 71-65 in overtime on Feb. 12 at home against Michigan State, and lost 59-51 at Ohio State on Feb. 1.
"I thought we had all the pieces of the puzzle in place," Legette-Jack said. "This was a great effort on our side. We competed with a great team."