After suffering its third loss of the season to Illinois on Thursday, the No. 10 Ohio State women’s basketball team (22-3, 9-3 Big Ten) bounced back with an 80-71 win against the No. 16 Purdue Boilermakers (19-6, 9-3 Big Ten) Sunday.
Sporting pinks socks and shoes to support breast cancer awareness, OSU trailed for the majority of the first period, which included a seven point deficit with 4:34 left in the half. Going into the locker room, the Buckeyes were down, 37-31.
“At times it was hard for us to get gelling, but we grinded it out and played as a team,” senior guard Samantha Prahalis said after the game.
The Buckeyes shot 48 percent in the first half while the Boilermakers shot 52 percent from the field.
The most telling statistic of the half might have been rebounds.
Purdue out rebounded OSU, 23-11, in the first half, including nine offensive boards that resulted in eight points.
“They are a very aggressive team,” said redshirt junior guard Amber Stokes. “They were getting rebounds but we kind of just changed some things and also got rebounds back.”
In the second half, OSU trailed until Prahalis was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit two of her three foul shots to tie the score at 50.
With 12:30 left, Prahalis was fouled on another shot attempt and sunk one of her free throws to give OSU a one-point lead. The lead was short-lived, as Purdue scored on its next five possessions to pull ahead, 61-56.
The Buckeyes would answer with a 14-3 run, but Purdue crept within two points with 1:03 left.
Prahalis eliminated any doubt of a victory when she hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to put the lead at, 76-71, and seal the victory for OSU.
“Ashley posted up pretty strong, I saw she was open, I passed it to her, she made a great pass back and I hit,” said Prahalis, who lead all OSU players with 26 points and five assists, said. Stokes followed her, who tallied 14 points.
The Boilermakers were lead by senior guard Brittany Rayburn and junior forward Sam Ostarello, who had 22 points and 12 points, respectively.
Sunday’s game had the top spot in the Big Ten at stake, but OSU coach Jim Foster said his team isn’t focused on the conference rankings.
“You are giving these kids far too much credit if you think they are analyzing the standings,” said Foster. “I think every game we play for the rest of the season is a must win.”
The Buckeyes return to action Thursday as they host the Indiana Hoosiers (5-19, 0-11 Big Ten). The Buckeyes defeated the Hoosiers, 73-55, the last meeting. Tip is set for 7 p.m.