MADISON, Wis. -- Ohio State coach Jim Foster said his
Buckeyes needed to shake off some rust in the first half against
Wisconsin Friday night.
Once they did, the Buckeyes (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) rolled.
Tayler Hill scored 21 points, while Samantha Prahalis added 12
points and 11 assists as the Buckeyes downed the Badgers 77-61
Friday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
After playing four games in six days just before Christmas, it
was the first time Ohio State (14-0) had played in more than a
week, and Foster said the players needed to re-acclimate themselves
to the fire and energy needed come game time.
"It probably took us a half to figure that out," he said.
The Badgers (4-9) have struggled offensively over their last
four games, averaging less than 49 points and shooting 36 percent
from the floor.
But Wisconsin shot 44 percent from the floor in the first half,
including 6 of 13 from 3-point range, and trailed 38-37 at the
The Buckeyes then reeled off a 20-2 run to open the second half,
pushing their lead to 58-39 and taking control. The Badgers were
just 1 of 11 from the field in that spurt and committed four
Wisconsin was able to pull within 60-50, but couldn't get any
closer. After shooting so well from behind the arc in the first
half, the Badgers were just 2 of 7 in the second.
Taylor Wurtz and Ashley Thomas scored 10 points apiece to lead
"We were much more aggressive, post players much more
aggressive getting out and setting guards higher," Foster said.
"They were not getting the same looks."
The Buckeyes struggled at times offensively when they settled
for quick outside shots, and Prahalis shot just 4 of 15 from the
field. But they had the most success when they consistently pushed
the ball inside, finishing with 38 points in the paint to 16 for
Ashley Adams finished with 14 points for Ohio State, while guard
Amber Stokes added 10.
Wisconsin coach Bobbie Kelsey said it wasn't that Ohio State was
posting up as much as the Buckeyes were able to penetrate the lane,
effectively work back door cuts and drive around Badger defenders.
"You can't give them everything they want," she said. "If you
sit back, they're going to shoot it. If you don't, they're going to
go around you."