The Ohio State women’s basketball team will open the regular season without one of its best players.
All-Big Ten point guard Samantha Prahalis will sit out the Buckeyes’ game at Temple on Friday night as part of a three-game suspension for an unspecified secondary NCAA rules violation.
The 5-7 junior will also miss Ohio State’s home opener against Eastern Michigan on Sunday and a Nov. 17 contest at LSU.
She is permitted to practice during the suspension.
Prahalis was a first team all-conference selection last season as a sophomore when she averaged 16.3 points and 8.0 assists. She set the school record with 289 assists and was an honorable mention WBCA All-American after helping the Buckeyes to a school-record 31 wins and a record sixth consecutive Big Ten championship.
Sophomore Tayler Hill, a regular starter, is likely to fill Prahalis’ primary ball-handling duties.
Hill is a 5-10 guard who started every game last season as a freshman. She averaged 8.5 points and 1.7 assists per game.
Head coach Jim Foster has a couple of options to fill the open spot in the starting lineup, including senior guard Alison Jackson or sophomore forward Emilee Harmon, but his bench will be short four players for at least the first three games.
Already missing were guards Amber Stokes (viral infection) and Amy Scullion (knee) along with center Ashley Adams (knee).
Stokes and Adams are both expected back at some point before Christmas while Scullion will sit out the season rehabbing from reconstructive surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
This is the second time in as many years the Buckeyes will begin the season short-handed. Last year, senior guards Shavelle Little and Cherise Daniel both missed the first two games of the year for a minor NCAA violation.