No. 25 Ohio St. 71, Illinois 62

Brittany Johnson scored 22 and Jantel Lavender added 19 to help

No. 25 Ohio State beat Illinois 71-62 on Thursday night.

After a slow start, the Buckeyes (12-6, 3-3 Big Ten) built a

38-29 halftime lead behind 15 first-half points from Johnson, who

hit 5-of-6 from behind the arc.

”I was feeling good, I thought we all came out and played

hard,” Johnson said. ”It was just a fun game. I had some good

looks because (Illinois) was doubling down.”

Karisma Penn added 26 points and 18 rebounds for the Illini

(7-12, 2-4), who have now lost seven straight games to the

Buckeyes. This marks Penn’s 12th double-double of the season, which

leads the Big Ten.

The Illini jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the first 2:25.

Lana Rukavina made two layups and Penn added a bucket of her own to

put the Illini up early.

Ohio State took it’s first lead of the game, 26-24, on a

3-pointer from Johnson with 4:03 to play, but Illinois’ Blinn

answered right back with a 3-pointer of her own, retaking the lead

for the Illini.

”Brittany got great looks, took her time, and I thought,

defensively, she did a great job,” Ohio State coach Jim Foster

said.

Ohio State’s Adams then hit a layup to put the Buckeyes up by

one. On the next trip down the court for the Buckeyes, Johnson

nailed another 3-pointer to increase their lead to 31-27 with 2:54

to play in the half. Adams’ jumper with five seconds remaining in

the half put the Buckeyes up 38-29.

Illinois dissolved Ohio State’s lead midway through the second

half on a three-point play from Lydia McCully, giving Illinois the

lead, 50-49, with 9:30 to play. That lead wouldn’t last long as

Johnson sank yet another 3-pointer to put Ohio State back on top

for good.