Samantha Prahalis scored 19 and dished out 9 assists Thursday.
Jan. 19, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State's 1-2 punch was great. But so were the rest of the Buckeyes.
Tayler Hill had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Samantha Prahalis added 19 points and nine assists to lead Ohio State (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) past Nebraska (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) 82-68 on Thursday night.
"They've got as good a guard play with the two of those guys as anybody in the country," Cornhuskers coach Connie Yori said.
But the rest of the Buckeyes needed to contribute -- and they did in a big way.
Ashley Adams had 13 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Buckeyes (18-1, 5-1 Big Ten), with Amber Stokes adding 12 points. And the bench had 13 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Prahalis, the only senior on the roster, was asked how this year's team compares with others that have won two Big Ten titles and have made it to three NCAA tournaments.
"The other teams I've been on we had a lot of talent, just as much as this one," she said. "But this team is all about defense and hard work. This team has a little bit of a tough edge to it. It's not like we were soft in the past, but it's just a little different. We have a little bit more dog in us."
The previous four Ohio State teams featured All-American post player Jantel Lavender. This, coach Jim Foster's 10th Buckeyes team, doesn't have a dominant inside presence but still gets the job done.
"There's a lot of ways to play basketball -- a lot of ways," Foster said. "You figure out the attributes of the players you have and draw up a scheme and go play."
Ohio State shot 59 percent in the opening half in building a 41-36 lead and then broke the game open with a 10-2 second-half run.
Emily Cady scored a career-high 24 points, Jordan Hooper had 19 points and matched a career best with 14 rebounds and Lindsey Moore contributed 13 points for the Cornhuskers (15-3, 4-2), who lost their second in a row. They were beaten at home by Penn State 93-73 on Sunday.
The game featured four of the top six scorers in the Big Ten: Ohio State's Hill (first at 21.4 points per game) and Prahalis (fourth at 18.3), along with Nebraska's Hooper (third at 19.8) and Moore (sixth at 16.6).
Ahead by six at the half, Ohio State got off to a slow start in the second half, scoring just two points in the first 3 minutes.
But freshman Kalpana Beach's layup off an assist from Prahalis touched off a Buckeyes run. After a Nebraska miss, Adams hit a short jumper, and Kaitlyn Burke answered for the Cornhuskers. The Buckeyes then ran off six points, mostly due to their defense.
Stokes hit a spinning reverse layup, then Adams' long outlet pass led to Hill's breakaway layup. Hill then stole the ball and went coast to coast for a 51-39 lead.
The lead never fell below eight points again.
"Ohio State's really good, period, but they're really good in this building," Yori said. "They're good when they can get their transition game going and they scored 20 points unguarded -- they either stole it from us or they leaked out and got an easy basket. So transition offense was really critical."
It was unknown until Wednesday whether Hill would even play. She had been shaken up after running into a blind screen in the win at Michigan State on Sunday and hadn't felt well all week.
Foster said he knew when he saw her working out on Wednesday that she'd be fine by game time.
Like the rest of the Buckeyes, she's tough.
"Yeah, we're tough," he said. "I think we can get tougher."
- Ohio State improves to 3-0 vs. ranked teams this season and 11-3 since the start of last season when the Buckeyes went 8-3 against ranked teams and 13-4 against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams.
- Four Buckeyes in Tayler Hill, Samantha Prahalis, Ashley Adams and Amber Stokes were in double figures vs. Nebraska. Hill, the Big Ten's leading scorer, had 21 points to lead the Buckeye scorers, while Prahalis, the fourth-leading scorer in the conference, scored 19, Adams 13 and Stokes 12.
- For the second time this season a pair of Buckeyes in Tayler Hill and Ashley Adams recorded a double-double in a game. In addition to her to her 21 points, Hill also grabbed 10 rebounds, nine defensive. Adams added 11 rebounds to her 13-point total. The last double-double by a pair of Buckeyes was in the 78-75 overtime win vs. Florida State Nov. 30, 2011. Prahalis had 11 points and 11 assists, while Adams recorded 13 points and 14 rebounds.
- With nine assists, Prahalis now has 839 helpers for her career as she is chasing the Big Ten record of 892 held by Northwestern's Nancy Kennelly from 1989-93.
- Hill tied her career high with six steals. The junior guard previously recorded six steals earlier this season vs. Florida State Nov. 30, 2011.
- Ohio State has scored 80 or more points in seven of its last 12 games and entered the game Thursday leading the Big Ten with a +18.0 average scoring margin.
- The Buckeyes were 3-for-4 from the 3-point line vs. the Huskers and now have hit at least one 3-pointer in 106 consecutive games.
- Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Ohio State has amassed a 127-9 record at home and a 112-8 record at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes are 154-13 at home all-time under Jim Foster.
- Since the start of 2004-05, the Buckeyes are 54-5 in Big Ten games at Value City Arena.
- Ohio State outscored Nebraska, 20-2, in fast break points.
Jim Foster, Ohio State head coach
On preparing for a game
"There's a lot of ways to play basketball. You figure out the attributes of the players, throw up a scheme, and go play."
On the play of the guards
"When the guards attract double coverage and the post players run to the rim, good things are going to happen. [Amber] Stokes is just starting to find holes."
"They're a good basketball team. She [Nebraska head coach Connie Yori] is a good coach. She's had good teams in the past. She's a hard worker and she's in a state that has something like 1.8 million people. You'd better go find some players if your state's not going to give you yours. I think they do a very good job. I see her out there, all over the place and over the summer. That's the result."
On Ohio State's defense
"I liked our defense against two of their players. I didn't like the defense against one of their players. The camera doesn't lie. We'll watch it and talk about it tomorrow."
On the team's mentality
"It's a game. If they can't bounce back doing the thing they love more than anything in the world, I don't know what they'd do. I don't think I'm coaching any sopranos or concert pianists. I haven't seen a violin in the locker room. If losing a basketball game makes you crazy, I've got some serious issues."
On his team's toughness
"We're tough. I don't know if I want to find out [if they can get any tougher]. I think we are tougher [than before]. What's the epitome of toughness? I don't know."
Samantha Prahalis, senior guard
On the style of play against Nebraska
"When we watched film we knew they wanted to get up and down a little bit. They wanted to pressure the ball and that's what they did. Once we started rebounding a little more and locking up on defense I think we started to click. I think on offense I felt like Amber (Stokes) got a lot of layups. I thought overall we did pretty well."
On the role of the team's bench
"I think we're a pretty deep team. I think each game is different. I feel like it could be a different player that steps up for us each game. I think every game is what we need and I think our bench does a great job of supplying a bunch of different looks."
"It's just different with the three-guard look with me, Amber and Tayler. We're all fast in all different ways. We're all coming at you in different ways and we all add something to the offense that is different. It's kind of scary for other teams to face."
On the difference of this team against her previous three years at Ohio State
"I think it's hard because the other team's I've been on we had a lot of talent just as much as this one. Our basis is defense and hard work this year. We're the team that flies to the ball. We like to play up and down the court. We like defense and hard work. This team has a little bit of a hard edge to it."
Amber Stokes, redshirt junior guard
On her offensive role
"They always try to take out Sammy (Prahalis) and Tayler (Hill), so I have to play the role and step up and make those little shots."
On Tayler Hill playing tonight
"I knew Tayler was going to play. I knew she was alright. Tayler is strong and she will always play."
On guarding junior guard Lindsey Moore
"I thought 00 was a pretty good player. I think once I back up a little bit off of her it worked better. You just have to know how to play certain people a little bit better than others. "
On the team's defense
"Overall I thought our defense was pretty good tonight. We got steals and we were rebounding. In the second half we came together. We were talking and especially in the end we played solid to stop them from coming back."
Ashley Adams, sophomore center
On what Ohio State did differently in the second half
"We just went after the ball more. We let them take more shots so we could rebound more and get the ball."
On her shooting performance tonight
"The guards did a good job finding me and I just finished the shots."
Connie Yori, Nebraska Head Coach
On the game
"Well Ohio State is really good and they are really good in this building. They are good when they can get their transition game going. They scored 20 points basically unguarded. Transition offense was really critical and they've got great guard play. They have as good of guard play with those two [Tayler Hill and Samantha Prahalis] as anybody in the country."
On Ohio State guard Amber Stokes
"Stokes gave them a huge lift. When we weren't guarding her she got by us. She's a really quick kid and she made plays."
On how Nebraska played
"I thought we played really hard. Our intelligence is not where it needs to be as a really young team. We played 10 different players today and six were freshmen. We are probably the youngest team in the Big Ten. We make too many errors and our shot selection is questionable at times."
On the Big Ten
"It's a great league. I think more than anything it seems anybody can beat anybody in this league. There is great strength from top to bottom."
On whether or not her team understood the quickness of Ohio State's guards
"I'm involved with the USA Basketball Committee so I have had a chance to watch Hill and Prahalis in person. For me, I kind of knew what we were expecting, but I don't think our kids knew what to expect."