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.”