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Buckeyes overcome slow start, pick up first conference win against Indiana

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The Ohio State women’s basketball team (10-4, 1-1) overcame a slow start from point guard Samantha Prahalis, and picked up its first conference win of the season, defeating Indiana (8-7, 2-1), 83-65, Wednesday night.

Prahalis committed five turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game, and was eventually pulled by OSU coach Jim Foster. Prahalis returned a minute later and picked up her play, scoring eight first-half points without committing another turnover.

Prahalis finished the game with 23 points and two assists as she spent more time than usual playing off the ball as Tayler Hill took on a larger share of the point guard duties. Hill finished the game with 12 points, four assists and one turnover.

“I just shot when I was open, and it happened to go in,” Prahalis said. “Tayler — in the zone that they were playing — was doing a great job getting into the seams and finding me, or finding somebody else.”

Thanks in part to nine combined turnovers from Prahalis and OSU center Jantel Lavender, the Hoosiers played the Buckeyes close through the better part of the first half, keeping OSU’s lead to one point with less than six minutes remaining in the half.

In the final five minutes of the period, the Buckeyes separated themselves from Indiana with a 10-1 run. A Prahalis layup with 42 seconds remaining before intermission gave the Buckeyes a 15-point lead, their largest of the half.

The Hoosiers fought back in the second half, putting together a 6-0 run to start the half. However, that was the most damage that the Buckeyes allowed Indiana to inflict on their lead.

Just like Prahalis, Lavender made up for her early turnovers, pulling down a career-high 22 rebounds and scoring 22 points.

“I take a lot of pride in it,” Lavender said. “I really know that when I rebound well, that my teammates can get fast breaks and that we can push the ball.”

OSU guard Amber Stokes added to the Buckeyes’ offense, scoring a career-high 10 points in 15 minutes of play. However, it was Stokes’ defense that impressed Foster.

“Her energy on defense is terrific, and it’s a good thing for us,” Foster said. “It just gets different looks that we can throw at another team’s point guard.”

The Buckeyes will next try to pick up their first conference road win of the season, when they travel to Iowa (12-3, 0-2) on Saturday to play the Hawkeyes.

“Every game we play the rest of the season is important,” Foster said. “I can’t emphasize that enough.”

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