6:00 PM ET, December 5, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With the game on the line in the closing minutes, Jantel Lavender and Ohio State were at their best at both ends of the floor.Lavender scored 32 points, Samantha Prahalis had 15 points and a career-high 15 assists and the sixth-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 11 Oklahoma 95-84 on Sunday in the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge."They're a very good basketball team and we're a very good basketball team," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "And the last 7 minutes our defense was up to the task."The offensive numbers were pretty gaudy, too.Brittany Johnson added 18 points, Tayler Hill finished with 16 and Sarah Schulze 12 for the Buckeyes (7-0), who pulled away after the game was tied with just under 11 minutes left.Spectacular freshman Aaryn Ellenberg, who had a career-best 34 points for Oklahoma in her seventh game, tied it for the final time at 62-all on a jumper from the right wing at the 11:44 mark. Seconds later, she picked up her fourth foul and went to the sideline.The momentum swung dramatically."We couldn't get quite over the hump," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said. "When Aaryn Ellenberg got her fourth foul and had to come out it began to unravel a little bit because she had been so much a part of our offensive confidence. We were really looking to her. A true freshman? Are you kidding me?"An instant after Ellenberg left the game, Prahalis hit a pullup 15-footer. After Lavender hit a 12-foot turnaround, Joanna McFarland streaked by Lavender for a layup. At the other end, Lavender hit a bank shot and was fouled by McFarland, completing the three-point play.An Oklahoma turnover was followed by the biggest shot of the game. With the shot clock about to expire, Lavender let fly with another tough 15-footer with a defender in her face that hit nothing but net and gave Ohio State a 71-64 lead."It was fun," the three-time Big Ten player of the year said. "I knew Oklahoma was the type of team that was going to come in and play extremely hard. I knew it was going to be physical, it was going to be a battle and we had a great crowd that was going to be behind us."The Sooners pulled within four with 5:42 left on a three-point play by preseason Associated Press first-team All-American Danielle Robinson, who hit her average with 19 points, but Johnson made a 3 from the wing to spark an 8-0 run that put the game out of reach.Carlee Roethlisberger, an Ohio native and the little sister of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, had 18 for the Sooners, who stayed in the game by hitting six of 11 shots behind the arc in the second half.Prahalis had one more than her previous career high in assists."I wanted to get everybody involved," she said. "I only got 15 assists because people made shots. I just tried to move the ball around because if we move it around it opens up the post a little bit for Jantel."It was Foster's 1,000th game as a head coach. He improved to 723-277 in 32 seasons at St. Joseph's, Vanderbilt and Ohio State.Asked what he liked most about coaching, he said: "Watching kids grow, watching players mature and start to understand what it is you're talking about. It's not Latin anymore. Then they start to feel that sense of accomplishment and achievement."The Buckeyes shot 56 percent from the field in the second half and 51 percent for the game. They outscored Oklahoma by 11 at the line and made 44 percent (8 of 18) of their 3-point attempts -- a considerable improvement over their 26 percent for the season coming in."At the end of the game, we did the things we needed to do at both ends of the floor," Foster said. "We took care of the ball, we got some timely rebounds, we found the right people and made good decisions. At the other end of the floor we were much better the last 7 minutes of the game of identifying them and making their shots more difficult."Oklahoma was hampered by foul trouble all night, with three starters fouling out.When Ellenberg picked up her fifth in the final minute, she received a standing ovation from a crowd of 4,746."Yeah, they were glad she wasn't playing anymore," Coale cracked. "I don't think it was for the right reasons. Maybe. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt -- it is the holiday season."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||33-74 (.446)||34-67 (.507)|
|3P Made-Attempted||10-23 (.435)||8-18 (.444)|
|FT Made-Attempted||8-9 (.889)||19-26 (.731)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||24 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|