Second half surge gives No. 9 Buckeyes 77-61 win at Wisconsin

Go Buckeyes! Samantha Prahalis finished with 12 points and 11 assists Friday in the win over Wisconsin.
Go Buckeyes!
Samantha Prahalis finished with 12 points and 11 assists Friday in the win over Wisconsin.
Go Buckeyes!

Dec. 30, 2011

Box Score | Photo Gallery  | Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

MADISON, Wis. -- Junior Tayler Hill led four Buckeyes in double-figures with 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds as No. 9/12 Ohio State beat Wisconsin 77-61 Friday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

The win moves the Buckeyes to 14-0 overall on the season, the best in program history, and also gave head coach Jim Foster his 250th win at Ohio State.

After playing four games in six days just before Christmas, it was the first time Ohio State had played in more than a week, and Foster said the players needed to re-acclimate themselves to the fire and energy needed come game time.

"It probably took us a half to figure that out," he said.

Samantha Prahalis, first in the Big Ten in assists and fourth in scoring, finished with 12 points and 11 assists for her fourth double-double of the season.

Taylor Wurtz and Ashley Thomas scored 10 points apiece to lead the Badgers (4-9), who are in the middle of a stretch in which they play five of six games against ranked opponents.

Wisconsin has averaged less than 49 points and shot 36 percent over its last four games, but Ohio State led just 38-37 at the half as the Badgers shot almost 44 percent.

The Buckeyes then reeled off a 20-2 run to open the second half and push their lead to 58-39 to take control.

Wisconsin was able to pull within 60-50, but didn't get any closer. The Badgers shot 33 percent for the second half, including just 2 of 7 from behind the 3-point line after hitting 6 of 13 to start the game.

"We were much more aggressive, post players much more aggressive getting out and setting guards higher," Foster said. "They were not getting the same looks."

Wisconsin coach Bobbie Kelsey said it wasn't that Ohio State was posting up as much as the Buckeyes were able to penetrate the lane, effectively work back door cuts and drive around Badger defenders.

"You can't give them everything they want," she said. "If you sit back, they're going to shoot it. If you don't, they're going to go around you."

Sophomore Ashley Adams, the Big Ten leader in blocked shots, finished with 14 points, five boards and three blocks while Amber Stokes chipped in with 10. Freshman Kalpana Beach had another solid game as well with a team-high eight rebounds and six points.

Ohio State is back in action at Noon Monday, Jan. 2 vs. Iowa at Value City Arena. Fans are encouraged to stick around after the game to watch the football Buckeyes take on Florida in the Gator Bowl on the video board, which will be lowered in the arena bowl.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Ohio State Postgame Notes

• The Buckeyes move to 14-0 on the season - improving on the best season start in program history.
• The 14-game win streak is the longest by the Buckeyes since winning 17 in a row back during the 2006-07 regular season. OSU won a school-record 20 in a row in 2005-06 and during the 1984-85 campaign.
Jim Foster won his 250th game as Ohio State head coach Friday. He is 250-62 (.800) in his 10th year in Columbus.
• Ohio State leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 45-15, and has won the last 19 meetings overall.
• Ohio State has won 25 of its last 26 games overall dating to last season.
Tayler Hill, the Big Ten's leading scorer at 21.2 ppg, led all scorers with 21 points. She tied a career best with four 3FGs and grabbed seven rebounds.
Samantha Prahalis, the Big Ten leader in assists, recorded her fourth double-double of the season and the 20th of her career with 12 points and 11 assists. Prahalis is now 15 assists away from passing Tina Nicholson for second place on the Big Ten's all-time list.
Big Ten Career Assist Leaders
1. 892   Nancy Kennelly, NU 1989-93
2. 826   Tina Nicholson, PSU 1993-96
3. 811   Samantha Prahalis, OSU 2009-
• Ohio State has only allowed one team (UConn) to shoot 50 percent or better over the last 48 games dating to last season. UW shot 38.7 percent Friday. Only four teams have shot 40 percent or better from the field this season against the Buckeyes.
• Ohio State has led at the half in all 14 games this season. They led 38-37 at halftime tonight.
• Ohio State opened the second half on a 13-0 run to take a 51-37 lead with 15:02 left.
• Since the start of the 2009-10 season, Ohio State is 58-3 when scoring at least 70 points, including 13-0 this year.

Postgame Quotes

Ohio State Head Coach Jim Foster

On what was different about the second half:
“I think (during) these games after exams and Christmas break, you have to re-acclimate yourself (to the game). We played four games in six days before the break and then we didn't play for eight or nine days. One thing you never lose sight of is the fact that the players are kids. You've got to get that same fire and energy into them (after the break), and I think it probably took us until halftime to do that. I thought that (the Badgers) executed well and did some good things and made their shots in the first half. I thought we toughened their defense up in the second half.”

On adjusting to the Badger bench in the first half:
“One of the things that they had going for them in the first half were players coming in off the bench. In the scouting report, you only show your team a certain number of players and a certain number of schemes. So kids coming in off the bench were doing things that they hadn't done, sort of catching us by surprise. I thought we adjusted nicely to that in the second half. We now knew who they were.”

On relying on the 3-point shot and their two leading scorers from time to time:
“We have two guards scoring a lot of points (regularly). We can't depend on those two every night to be on. You can't be hot every night. But we scored 77 points with those two (Tayler Hill and Samantha Prahalis) not playing as well as they had been, which is to be expected when you play the number of games that we've played. When we moved the ball in the second half, I thought we were very effective.”