No. 18 Ohio St. 77, No. 20 LSU 68

LSU’s LaSondra Barrett summed it up in a sentence.

”(Samantha Prahalis) and Tayler Hill pretty much killed us,”

she said.

Prahalis scored 28 points and flirted with a triple-double and

Hill added 23 including a critical high-bouncing 3-pointer, to lead

No. 18 Ohio State past No. 20 LSU 77-68 on Sunday night.

Prahalis had eight points and an assist in a 12-4 second-half

run that gave the Buckeyes (5-0) the lead for good.

”We weren’t aware of where Sammy was, giving her some quality

looks – and she knocked them down,” said Lady Tigers coach Nikki

Caldwell.

Hill scored 19 of her 23 points in the second half.

There had been nine ties and eight lead changes when the score

was tied at 48. That’s when Prahalis took over.

First, she hit two free throws at the 9:28 mark for a lead that

the Buckeyes would never relinquish. After Hill followed an Amber

Stokes steal with two foul shots, Prahalis hit consecutive

3-pointers, the first on a kick-out pass from Darryce Moore and the

second on a quick stop-and-pop from Hill while trailing a fast

break.

Then she drove and fed Kalpana Beach for a bucket inside and a

60-52 lead.

Prahalis finished with eight rebounds and eight assists, falling

just short of her second career triple-double.

”She’s a great player,” Hill said of her 5-foot-7 running mate

at guard. ”She’s the smallest player on the court, but she has the

biggest heart.”

LSU fought back to cut the lead to 62-56 only to have Prahalis

hit a stepback jumper in transition, then feed Stokes on a break

for a 66-58 advantage with 5 minutes remaining.

”I was feeling it and (my teammates) were finding me,” the

Buckeyes’ lone senior said. ”I just happened to have the hot hand

tonight.”

The Lady Tigers countered on a 3 and another perimeter jumper by

Adrienne Forthan, who finished with 15 points, before Barrett stole

a tipped pass and threw a length of the court assist to Jeanne

Kenney for a layup to cut it to 68-65 at the 3:18 mark.

After a timeout, the Buckeyes were down to 2 on the shot clock

when Hill pumped up a desperation 3 from the left wing. The ball

hit the back of the iron, bounded high in the air, and dropped

through the hoop.

”As a team, after practice, we work on those late plays and

playing-around 3s,” Hill said. ”That’s what it felt like.”

LSU never got closer than five points again as the Buckeyes –

who were 20 of 23 at the line, with Hill going 12 for 12 – hit all

six of their foul shots in the final 41 seconds.

”I thought all along that people didn’t understand, when they

were talking about what type of a team we were going to be, they

lost sight of how good those kids (Prahalis and Hill) are,” said

Ohio State coach Jim Foster.

Adrienne Webb also had 15 points and Barrett 13 for the Lady

Tigers, who hit three more field goals than the Buckeyes but were

outscored 20-10 at the foul line and 21-6 behind the arc.

Caldwell was upset about the loss, but considered it a learning

experience for her young team.

”I told the team, we have got to come to a point where we get

tired of losing,” she said. ”We missed our defensive assignments

and when you’re on the road, you have to have that. It’s still

early; we’ve got a lot more games to play. We can get this thing

turned around.”

The Lady Tigers were coming off a 44-43 home loss to another Big

Ten team, Northwestern, on Tuesday night in which they blew a

nine-point lead with nine minutes left.

Courtney Jones added eight points and 12 rebounds for LSU.

Beach chipped in with 13 points. Prahalis’ six 3-pointers made

was a career high for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State will be tested by Florida State at home and at No. 12

Oklahoma in its next two games.

”Each one of us stepped up a little,” Prahalis said of the win

over LSU. ”It was a good team win. I’m happy with everyone.”

Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:

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