COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Tayler Hill said for a while her Ohio
State teammates were trying too hard to "be a Sam."
Then, after getting accustomed to being without Big Ten scoring
leader Samantha Prahalis, the Buckeyes (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) settled down
and took off.
Hill scored 27 points and the Buckeyes never trailed in handing
Indiana its 13th straight loss, 75-54 on Thursday night, despite
not having Prahalis, who was out with the flu.
"We had some people trying to make the plays, trying to be a
Sam," said Hill, who went 7 for 8 from 3-point range. "But if we
just make the simple plays, the layups and the open shots will
Averaging 21. 8 points in conference play along with being one
of the nation's assist leaders with 6.7 a game, Prahalis was a huge
loss. She had hit for 77 points over the last three games.
Prahalis had started the last 48 games for the Buckeyes and had
been in the starting lineup in 126 of her 127 career games.
Still, the Buckeyes adapted.
"She didn't participate in shootaround this morning and did
some things through the course of the day to try to be ready. But
she was just too drained. There was no juice there," coach Jim
Foster said of Prahalis, who spent the first few minutes of the
game on the bench before going home. "Other people had to step up
a little bit."
A lot did. Amber Stokes added 14 points and a career-high seven
assists, while Kalpana Beach matched a career high with 13 points.
Ten players scored, 11 had rebounds and eight had assists in the
"What went wrong is the No. 9 team in the country showed up,"
Indiana coach Felishia Legette-Jack said. "(Their) point guard
went down, but this is a team that knows how to win, that has a
history of winning."
Ohio State (23-3, 10-3), which has won the last nine meetings
with Indiana, never trailed while staying in a tie for the top spot
in the Big Ten.
Hill's perimeter shooting performance ranked among the top ones
in school history. Brittany Johnson also went 7 for 8 from behind
the arc in the women's preseason NIT championship game in November
The Buckeyes won the first meeting at Indiana 73-55 on Jan. 26.
In that game, Hill and Prahalis each had 18 points, with Prahalis
adding nine assists and five rebounds. The Hoosiers led by a point
at the half before the Buckeyes outscored them 48-29 in the final
This one was never that close -- even without Prahalis.
"I kind of figured she might not be playing so I knew we would
be all right," Beach said. "Everybody just had to pick up a
Ohio State was quickly on top 5-0 and was up by double figures
most of the night -- despite 22 turnovers and having some difficulty
with Indiana's zone defense.
The Hoosiers trailed just 43-34 after Danilsa Andujar's shot
inside, but then the Buckeyes took control.
Beach hit a 10-footer and after an Indiana miss, Stokes made a
pull-up jumper from the right elbow. Hill hit a layup and Raven
Ferguson took a long pass and hit a layup to push the lead to
The Hoosiers never got closer than 15 points again.
"It was the ball reversal and the penetration," Hill said of
what sprung Ohio State's offense. "Amber would penetrate and then
she's got three or four people committed to her, so now you have
the kickout pass or you've got the layups that are wide open. When
we reverse the ball, it's hard to guard us."
Aulani Sinclair had 23 points and Quaneisha McCurty 11 for the
Hoosiers (5-21, 0-13).
"One player out doesn't mean that (Foster's) team is going to
surrender to anybody," Legette-Jack said. "I don't think Tayler
Hill's a shabby player. Amber Stokes is a pretty darned good
player, as well. They have a system that's been working for them.
One player does not make the system. That was evident tonight."
The Buckeyes next travel to Penn State (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) on Monday with
first place in the conference on the line.
"We're going to be ready to play," Foster said. "Looking
forward to it."