The Ohio State women’s basketball team remained undefeated with a 77-68 victory against No. 20 LSU behind a near triple-double performance from senior guard Samantha Prahalis Sunday night at the Schottenstein Center
Prahalis had her best statistical output of the season, tallying 28 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists to lead OSU in all three categories.
“You can’t ask for more from a point guard,” junior teammate Tayler Hill said of Prahalis following the game. “She’s the smallest player on the court but has the biggest heart. So it’s not a surprise at all that she played this way.”
Prahalis, voted the preseason co-player of the year in the Big Ten, is the lone senior on the OSU roster. Coach Jim Foster said that Sunday night was one of the best performances of Prahalis’ career because of the timeliness of her baskets and the leadership she provided.
“She’s taken a lot of responsibility on her shoulders this year,” Foster said. “She’s done an absolutely terrific job accepting the job of being the leader, and doing a very good job of it.”
While Prahalis had the biggest numbers, Hill may have had the biggest shot of the game, hitting a long three-pointer as the shot clock expired to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 71-65 with 3:11 to play. The shot bounced off the back of the rim, rose as high as the clock above the backboard before falling through the net.
Hill said that the team always works on quick “play around” three-point shots after practice to prepare for those situations.
“That’s what it kind of felt like,” Hill said. “Like after practice, just throw the ball up before the buzzer goes off.”
The basket was Hill’s only successful three-point field goal of the game and her only attempt from behind the arc in the second half. After shooting 1-of-6 (0-of-4 from three) for four points in the first half, Hill made a concerted effort to drive to the basket.
“I was settling in the first half for threes and wasn’t in attack mode,” Hill said. “(Prahalis) and coach Foster just told me like you have got to attack the bucket, (the threes) are not falling this game so attack the bucket.”
The result was 19 second-half points for Hill, and her game total of 23 included a 12-of-12 clip from the free throw line. The Buckeyes shot 20-of-23 from the line as a team.
With the win, the Buckeyes improved to 5-0 and will almost assuredly move up from their current ranking of 18th when the new rankings are released tomorrow.
OSU continues play Wednesday as Florida State visits the Schottenstein Center for a 8:30 p.m. tip.