Lavender leads No. 7 Buckeyes to 74-62 win

Ohio State sure didn’t look tired after playing its starters for
all but a combined 38 minutes in its first two games, even though
they were 48 hours apart.

The No. 7 Buckeyes got 26 points from Jantel Lavender and three
others in double figures on Sunday, allowing them to pull away from
pesky Eastern Michigan for a 74-62 win.

Ohio State (2-0) is learning to cope without point guard
Samantha Prahalis, who sat the second of a three-game suspension
for secondary NCAA violations. She has started 71 games the past
two seasons.

Also absent were three other players because of injuries or
illness, and Ohio State coach Jim Foster went to his young bench
for only 10 minutes during an 84-75 win at Temple on Friday.

On Sunday, the Buckeyes opened a 13-point lead in the first
half, saw the Eagles tie the score at 28 on the first basket of the
second half and led by only five with 9 minutes left.

”The whole team seemed a little tired,” Eastern Michigan coach
AnnMarie Gilbert said of the Buckeyes.

Foster disagreed and used the stat sheet to make his case.

”My response would be tired teams don’t shoot 60 percent from
the field,” he said. ”Tired teams don’t shoot 89 percent from the
foul line. End of discussion.”

The Buckeyes made 18 of 30 from the field and eight of nine free
throws in the second half while hitting 54 percent of their field
goals for the game.

When it was suggested that his club may have started flat,
Foster bristled.

”I don’t know why the word flat would even come into the
conversation,” he said. ”We had four people in double figures. We
had 42 rebounds to the other team’s 34. We shoot 53 percent and
change from the field. That’s disrespectful to your opponent to say
you’re flat.”

Lavender had 15 points in the second half, when Sarah Schulze
had all 11 of her points. Tayler Hill, who took over as point guard
for Prahalis, had 13 points and Brittany Johnson also added 11.

”My coaches and teammates have giving me a lot of support,”
Hill said.

The Eagles (1-1) made only three of their first 21 shots and
went 5 minutes without a basket as the Buckeyes increased a
four-point advantage to 22-9.

”We could have folded right there but we didn’t,” Gilbert
said.

The skid ended when De’Ja Wills came off the bench to hit a
jumper with 7:09 left. Tavelyn James had 12 of her 18 points for
the Eagles in the second half, and Wills had 11 off the bench.

Ohio State’s reserves contributed 28 minutes from four players
and got six points by freshman Martina Ellerbe.

”I have faith in my teammates,” Schulze said. ”If one of the
starters is out we have girls on the bench who can do the
job.”