COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With Iowa focused on stopping Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) used its depth to win the game.
Brittany Johnson scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half to rally the Buckeyes to an 86-82 victory over Iowa on Thursday night.
"They started double downing on Jantel because on the first half they couldn't stop her," Johnson said. "They were focusing more on her so she kicked it out. I hit my shots."
Prahalis finished with 22 points -- 11 in each half -- and Lavender added 18 to help Ohio State (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) improve to 17-0 at home.
"I've always felt that they're the best two-person game in the league and maybe the whole country," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
Jaime Printy scored 22 points, Kachine Alexander had 16 of her 20 in the second half, and Kamille Wahlin added 18 for Iowa (11-11, 4-7).
The Hawkeyes were more proficient on the perimeter, making 11 of 21 3-pointers while Ohio State was 8 for 17. However, the Buckeyes were 28 for 34 on free throws, and Iowa was just 9 of 13.
"You can't let the other team shoot that many free throws," Bluder said.
After trailing by four, Ohio State tied the score at 69 with 6:15 left thanks to two 3s by Johnson around a layup by Wahlin.
"We wanted to set a tempo," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "We wanted a pace because we thought we could go deeper in the bench. The pace is what I thought got them in foul trouble. We had fresher bodies that we could keep the tempo."
Lavender's layup gave the Buckeyes the lead for good at 74-72 and Prahalis followed with 3.
Iowa, which led 44-43 at halftime, was down 81-78 with the ball in the final minute but Shavelle Little stole the ball from Alexander. Prahalis was fouled with 26 seconds left and made both shots to push Ohio State's lead to 83-78.
Little stole the ball from Wahlin with 21 seconds left, was fouled and converted one free throw.
Little, the conference defensive player of the year the past two seasons, had four steals in 10 minutes.
"That was my fault," Bluder said. "I should not have had Kamille bring the ball up against her. We know what a great defensive player [Little] is."