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Lavender, Buckeyes hunt Hawkeye victory

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Senior Jantel Lavender may not be the only dominant post player on the Buckeyes’ roster anymore, as freshman center Ashley Adams had her second consecutive career night when the No. 24 Ohio State women’s basketball team trounced No. 18 Iowa, 81-67, Monday night at the Schottenstein Center.

Lavender added another impressive outing to her banner season with 22 points and seven rebounds. Adams wasn’t far behind with 16 points and seven boards.

For Adams, Monday’s performance came after scoring 13 and grabbing nine rebounds in the team’s previous game at Illinois on Thursday.

“When you get two post players that can make a shot from the high post and the low post and both pass,” coach Jim Foster said, “it’s a lot of fun.”

Lavender said having two post players also helps her game.

“It makes it a lot easier if I’m getting double-teamed,” she said. “It just instills confidence. It’s another outlet for me. … It gives you that much more momentum.”

Adams’ previous high was eight points Dec. 14 against South Carolina-Upstate. After missing the team’s first three games of the season with a knee injury, the 6-foot-4 freshman struggled to get consistent minutes until last week’s win.

Monday’s contest started with a back-and-forth first half that had OSU (13-6,4-3) down by a point at the break. But the Buckeyes came out of the locker room and immediately went on a 14-6 run, taking the lead for good against the Hawkeyes (15-5, 3-4).

Senior guard Brittany Johnson added 15 points, 12 of which came during the Buckeyes’ dominant second half. Guards Samantha Prahalis and Tayler Hill recorded 10 and 13 points, respectively, giving five OSU players double-digit scoring totals on the night.

“I had confidence in myself, and my teammates had confidence in me,” Johnson said. “They passed me the ball for a reason — I was open.”

After shooting 41.4 percent in the first half, OSU executed as planned with great ball movement and penetration that continuously found open shooters.

The Buckeyes outscored Iowa, 49-34, and shot 72 percent from the field during the second half, including 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.

“I just think we’re starting to understand we’re a pretty good basketball team,” Foster said. “I think we have a multitude of weapons, and when the ball moves, all those weapons come into play.”

With the win, OSU avenged an 89-76 loss to the Hawkeyes on Jan. 8. The victory also moves the Buckeyes to No. 5 in the Big Ten, ahead of No. 7 Iowa.

Foster and Lavender credited the team’s defensive intensity for the second-half dominance. Foster said he was especially pleased with the way the Buckeyes were able to contain Iowa’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Jaime Printy.

Printy scored 12 points, but only five came from the floor with Prahalis constantly shadowing her. The former Big Ten All-Freshman team member scored seven of her points from the free-throw line.

“They outplayed us in every regard,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.

After losing two of its first three conference games, OSU won three in a row and is looking capitalize on the momentum it’s created for Thursday’s game against rival Michigan.

“I think the three wins can definitely boost your confidence back up,” Lavender said. “We just want to do everything we can to not lose.”

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