Last night, the Ohio State men's basketball team took Northwestern to school in their Big Ten season opener. Tonight, the women opened their own Big Ten season with a 77-61 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers. It wasn't as easy a victory as some may have thought it would be, Wisconsin definitely stepped up it's game and even had Ohio State on it's heels at the end of the first half.
The first half was much closer than most people anticipated. The Buckeyes took a 38-37 lead into the locker room, but only after allowing Wisconsin to get ahead before taking the lead back. To Wisconsin's credit, they scored more points than they average (61 to 49) and had less turnovers than what they typically average (11 to 17). So it's obvious that first year coach Bobbie Kelsey made some adjustments over the last few days and got her players on track to play the way they can. Unfortunately for the Badgers, they didn't come out on fire in the second half and that's where the Buckeyes took it away.
Samantha Prahalis led the team to it's victory tonight, earning a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists, to which she added 2 steals and 5 rebounds without seeing a second of rest on the bench. Prahalis' efforts were compounded by that of Tayler Hill and Ashley Adams. Hill had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Adams added 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal. Rounding out the double-digit point category was Amber Stokes with 10 points and 2 rebounds in just 16 minutes of play.
Take a closer look at those statistics. Prahalis had 11 assists. Hill had 21 points and Adams had 14, the next closest. Who do you think most of those passes were going to? Tayler Hill is excellent at making her own plays and taking the game into her own hands, but she couldn't do it alone. And then there's the uncanny ability that Prahalis has of knowing where her teammates are on the court. She can feed the ball to Adams under the basket or find a wide open Hill for a quick layup almost in her sleep.
Prahalis is the lone senior on this young Buckeyes team, but don't panic about when she graduates. Tayler Hill is poised and ready to take over the point when Prahalis parts ways with the scarlet and grey. Jim Foster has done an excellent job recruiting and preparing this team for what lies ahead. In the immediate future, the Buckeye women will host Iowa on January 2 at 12:00pm here in Columbus. It will be their second conference game of the season, but may be a tad bit overshadowed by the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl at 1:00pm the same day.
Regardless of who watches, you can be sure that the Buckeyes will put on a show. Currently ranked 9th in the AP Top 25, the Ohio State Women's Basketball team is now 14-0. It's Jim Foster's best start as the head coach of Ohio State and it's something the players are sure to build on as the season wears on.
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