Feb. 16, 2012
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- It was a startling contrast: One team so deep that it could afford to be without the Big Ten's leading scorer, the other struggling to try to compete and end a long skid.
No. 9 Ohio State didn't have Samantha Prahalis, averaging 21.8 points a game in conference play and seventh in the nation in assists at 6.7 per game, because of the flu.
But the Buckeyes got 27 points from Tayler Hill and major contributions from several others, never trailing in handing Indiana a 75-54 loss on Thursday night.
It was the 13th defeat in a row for the Hoosiers (5-21, 0-13 Big Ten).
Coach Felisha Legette-Jack tried to be positive. She compared her program's hardships to how far the Hoosiers' men's team has come.
"You watch an Indiana men's team go through this same kind of a tumultuous situation," she said of coach Tom Crean's squad's struggles in recent years. "You look at them now and they're 20 wins in and with lots of games to play and that gives you hope that you, too, can fix this thing."
She said her biggest hope was that the young players would get a feel for what it's like to win.
"I know that we have a young group of kids who are going to get better," she said. "If we stay true to the task and not worry about the slump that we're in ... good things can happen. We're going to keep fighting to the finish."
Aulani Sinclair had 23 points and Quaneisha McCurty 11 for the Hoosiers.
Meanwhile, Ohio State (23-3, 10-3) moved into a tie for first place with Penn State in the Big Ten. And the Buckeyes did it without Prahalis, who had hit for 77 points over the last three games -- and had started the last 48 games for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State adapted.
"Other people had to step up a little bit," coach Jim Foster said.
Plenty did. Amber Stokes added 14 points and a career-high seven assists, and Kalpana Beach matched a career high with 13 points. Ten players scored, 11 had rebounds and eight had assists in the rout.
"What went wrong is the No. 9 team in the country showed up," Legette-Jack said. "(Their) point guard went down, but this is a team that knows how to win, that has a history of winning."
Ohio State has won its last nine against the Hoosiers.
The Buckeyes won the first meeting at Indiana 73-55 on Jan. 26. In that game, Hill and Prahalis each had 18 points, with Prahalis adding nine assists and five rebounds. The Hoosiers led by a point at halftime before the Buckeyes outscored them 48-29 in the final 20 minutes.
This one was never that close -- even without Prahalis.
Ohio State was quickly on top 5-0 and was up by double figures most of the night -- despite 22 turnovers and some difficulty with Indiana's zone defense.
The Hoosiers trailed 43-34 after Danilsa Andujar's shot inside. But the Buckeyes then took control.
Beach hit a 10-footer and after an Indiana miss, Stokes made a pull-up jumper from the right elbow. Hill hit a layup and Raven Ferguson took a long pass and hit a layup to push the lead to 51-34.
The Hoosiers never got closer than 15 points again.
Legette-Jack said her team is just trying to take small steps.
"We're a team that's really trying to figure out what winning feels like," she said. "We haven't done that in a long time. So a young team, not knowing what it feels like, and then a couple of mistakes at the beginning of the game puts you in the hole and it's hard to dig out of that hole because you haven't had that experience."
She said the Hoosiers lost confidence after making errors.
"As you noticed in the second half, we made mistakes and we got tight and we dropped our heads and the ball was right near us," she said. "We pouted for a second, and then realized the ball was right there. Then it's too late. Because you dropped your head for a second. It's a game of freedom. You're going to make mistakes, but if you keep your eyes on the ball you might just get it."
- The Buckeyes have won the last nine meetings with Indiana at Value City Arena. The Hoosiers have not won in Columbus since the 2002 season, an 85-72 win Jan. 31, 2002.
- Freshman guard Raven Ferguson received her first Ohio State start Thursday. Ferguson started in place of senior guard Samantha Prahalis.
- After being held scoreless in the first half in the Buckeyes’ first meeting with the Hoosiers earlier this season (Jan. 26), junior guard Tayler Hill scored 13 points in the first half. Hill, who entered the game tops in the Big Ten Conference in points per game, scored 27 points to lead all scorers. She was 9-for-11 from the field, including 7-for-8 from the 3-point line.
- Hill’s seven three-pointers were a career high and the most since Brittany Johnson hit seven in the Big Ten Tournament win over Iowa last March.
- Freshman forward Kalpana Beach scored in double figures for the fourth time this season, tying a season high with 13 points.
- Redshirt junior Amber Stokes recorded a career best seven assists. Stokes also scored 14 points.
- For the 21st time this season, the Buckeyes scored 70 or more points in the win vs. the Hoosiers. Ohio State entered the game leading the Big Ten Conference and ranking eighth in the NCAA with 77.2 points per game.
- Ohio State has hit at least one 3-ponter in 113 consecutive games.
- Head coach Jim Foster improved his record to 258-65 in his 10th year in Columbus.
- With the win Thursday, Ohio State improves to 18-0 at home this season, which bests its 17-0 home mark recorded during the 2004-05 season and 14-0 home ledger in 2002-03 under Jim Foster. The Buckeyes won a Foster-era best 19 games in Columbus during the 2009-10 season.
- Ohio State has now won 21 consecutive games at home, dating to last season. The streak serves as the longest home winning streak in Division I. The 18-0 home record is currently the best home mark in Division I.
Jim Foster, Ohio State head coach
On the absence of Samantha Prahalis because of illness
“She tried. She didn’t participate in shootaround this morning. She did some things throughout the course of the day to try to be ready. She was just drained and didn’t have enough juice to play.”
On the play of his post players
“[Kalpana] Beach was terrific. In fact, the post players in mass: Sasha [Dobranic], Martina [Ellerbe], Emilee [Harmon] and Darryce [Moore] did good things.”
On Kalpana Beach
“The energy came first, and now the results are showing. She had to get her energy to a certain level.”
On the bench’s success
“I think there was an understanding of what it was we wanted to do. In a situation where you don’t get to prepare and you have people stepping up and understanding where their opportunities were is a good sign.”
On Ashley Adams
“I think Ashley tried a little too hard. Ashley was without her partner [Samantha Prahalis] and as a result of that she was forcing it a little too much.”
Tayler Hill, junior guard
On playing without point guard Samantha Prahalis, who sat out because of illness
“We were fine. She wasn’t feeling well at practice today so we knew there was a good chance she wouldn’t play – people stepped up tonight.”
On her 7-of-8 performance from 3-point range
“Amber [Stokes] penetrating and committing three people to guard her create a lot of good opportunities from the three. And, when we reverse the ball like we did today, it is hard to guard us. It really increases our number of high percentage shots.”
On the team’s focus heading into the final games of the season
“I think we are typically always focused, but the fact we are in the final weeks of the season makes it easier [to focus]. We almost never look ahead, but when we have, we’ve come up short.”
Felisha Legette-Jack, Indiana head coach
On Ohio State’s performance
“The No. 9 team in the country showed up tonight. This is a team that knows how to win and understands what winning feels like. We’re a team that is trying to figure out what winning feels like and hasn’t won in a long time.”
On Indiana’s performance
“We made a couple of mistakes at the beginning at the game. We couldn’t dig ourselves out of a hole, but hats off to the best team tonight and that was Ohio State. Our key was to make shots and get back on defense. In the second half, we got tight and dropped our heads. This team trying to fight and represent the best they know how. However there comes a time human nature comes in and you drop your head for such a long time. Our men’s team went through a similar situation and looking at them now gives you hope you can fix this thing. We have to stay true to the task and not worry about the slump and know good things can happen.”
On the absence of Samantha Prahalis
“When you have a good coach like Jim Foster, he is going to come up with a different strategy. Just because one player is out doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender. Hill and Stokes are good players and they have a good system and one player doesn’t make the system and that was evident tonight.”