Eric Beiersdorfer / Lantern photographer
Every college team wants to win on Senior Day. The manner in which it wins is usually irrelevant.
The Ohio State women’s basketball team (19-9, 10-6 Big Ten) opted for a 33-point rout.
In their final regular-season game as Buckeyes, forward Sarah Schulze, center Jantel Lavender and guards Alison Jackson and Brittany Johnson, all seniors, celebrated Senior Day with an 80-47 victory against Wisconsin (15-13, 10-6 Big Ten) on Sunday at the Schottenstein Center.
In the first half, Lavender’s low-post presence, as well as her midrange shooting, produced 16 points and a 22-6 Buckeye lead with 11:26 until halftime. Lavender, the leading scorer in OSU history and the leading rebounder in Big Ten history, went on to score a game-high 20 points.
The Buckeyes eventually opened up a 34-8 lead late in the first.
Offense did not come as easily for the Badgers.
With less than four minutes to play in the half, Wisconsin was shooting just 8.3 percent from the field, having made only two of its first 24 shots. The Badgers also went exactly 14 minutes between field goals made during the first half.
Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said the Badgers’ poor shooting changed their game plan.
“Our offense affected our defense,” Stone said. “With missed 19 straight shots in the first half, there’s your game. (The Buckeyes) were able to celebrate Senior Day.”
If OSU, which led, 39-14, at halftime, hadn’t already buried Wisconsin, the finishing touches on the victory were applied in the second half.
A 3-pointer from Johnson with just more than six minutes to play lifted the Buckeyes’ shooting percentage to 52.1 percent and extended the lead to 70-33.
OSU coach Jim Foster cleared the bench over the final minutes of the game and rode out a comfortable win.
Speaking about the Buckeyes’ outlook on the postseason, Lavender said that it doesn’t matter whom the team plays.
“We’re starting to show who we are,” she said. “We have a really strong team. We don’t want (the season) to be over.”
Foster smiled and agreed with Lavender.
“I think we’re in a very good place,” he said.
Postseason play begins for the Buckeyes with a Big Ten Tournament game Friday at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.