Michael Periatt / Asst. sports editor
The Ohio State women’s basketball team just keeps on winning. The No. 8-ranked Buckeyes improved their record to 15-0 Monday with an 84-71 win against Iowa at the Schottenstein Center. With the win, the Buckeyes continue the best start in the program’s history.
Senior guard Samantha Prahalis and junior guard Taylor Hill carried OSU with 30 and 28 points, respectively, but the win didn’t come easy.
With 5:19 remaining in the first half, OSU saw itself trailing, 22-37, but OSU coach Jim Foster didn’t panic.
“I don’t tend to think negative thoughts,” Foster said. “At least I won’t verbalize them until we’re in the huddle. Then I’ll remind people. I’ve seen big leads come and go. There’s a significant frame of reference.”
His team responded with a 17-3 run before the half ended, though the Hawkeyes held onto a 40-39 lead going into the half.
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said the Buckeyes picked up their intensity.
“We shot the ball well during that time and even defended well, but when they got on a roll it took us out of our rhythm. They changed the way they were playing and had more intensity as the game went on,” she said. “I think it was a matter of us playing well that got us the lead early, but I don’t think Ohio State was as into it at the beginning of the game.”
The second half was all Buckeyes. Prahalis sunk a three to put OSU up, 42-40, and the team never looked back as the combination of Prahalis and Hill dominated the Hawkeyes.
“I think our energy [made a difference in the game],” Prahalis said. “At first we let Iowa’s guards penetrate. It was just a matter of keeping their guards in front of us. We just needed to step up. We weren’t playing how we needed to play and how we know how to play.”
Hill came into the game as the Big Ten’s top scorer on the year. A career high five 3-pointers helped propel her to 28 points.
She credited her success to her teammates.
“My teammates were finding me, especially Sam (Prahalis) on the fast break. I feel like I had the hot hand at one point,” she said. “It’s kind of hard to guard us on the outside with our ability to get to the bucket.”
The victory gets the Buckeyes off to an undefeated start in conference play. OSU is the only undefeated Big Ten team.
Foster said conference play is the team’s main focus.
“We have a board in our locker room that has the records of every team in the league, and we want to be at the top. We were in the preseason, and we moved that column over today to start the Big Ten column. We want to be on top.”