COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Bethune-Cookman coach Vanessa Blair hoped Ohio State would continue its longest losing streak in seven season season. Deep down she knew that was asking too much.
Jantel Lavender scored 29 points, making 12 of 13 field goals and all five free throws in only 29 minutes of the Buckeyes (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) 86-38 win Sunday."We knew coming in here she's a big-time player so we tried to double her when she got it but she's obviously used to those sort of things," Blair said. "Her passing skills to kick the ball out to other players were there so we tried to double her and make it as physical as possible."The Buckeyes' (9-4) three-game skid started against top-ranked Connecticut on Dec. 19 and was followed by a home loss to Duquesne and Thursday's defeat at Michigan in the Big Ten opener."Everybody hopes for that Cinderella but when you play a team on a three-game losing streak as good as they are, you know they are hungry to stop the bleeding," Blair said.Bethune-Cookman (6-6) had won three straight and led 4-0 but Lavender had Ohio State's first 11 points and 21 in the first half despite playing only 12 minutes for 46-25 lead at the break. Her only miss was a layup in the first four minutes and she made her final eight shots from the floor."We got in transition because we were playing such good defense so Jantel could run," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "We hadn't been getting that, getting those easy baskets in transition."The Wildcats gave away three inches to the 6-foot-4 Lavender and she had little trouble inside."It was a refresher after our three losses," she said.Lavender took her first break at the 10:44 mark having already scored 15 points. She returned 6 minutes later and scored six points of Ohio State's next eight for a 40-23 advantage before leaving for the half with 2:05 to play.Seven of Lavender's baskets came off feeds from Samantha Prahalis and none was prettier than the no-look, behind-the-head pass off a spin move to put Ohio State up 54-27 early in the second half.Prahalis, who did not have an assist against Michigan to drop her season average to 7.2, had 10 assists and 10 points."I (wanted) just to get back in control of the game and set my teammates up. Get back on track," Prahalis said. "We played good defense and rebounded. We just got the ball. We were in a good flow, a rhythm."Jasmine Daniels had 11 points for the Wildcats, who play at Norfolk State on Saturday.The Buckeyes host Indiana on Wednesday.