Ohio State crushed Charlotte 88-58 with a methodical ease Monday afternoon in Columbus.
The veteran backcourt of Taylor Hill and Samantha Prahalis led the way as usual with 25 and 19 points, respectively, as the Buckeyes (11-0) did plenty to justify their No. 11 national ranking.
The Buckeyes never trailed and finished with their highest point total of the season. They built a double-digit lead in the opening 10 minutes before blowing the game open with a 17-0 run.
Raven Ferguson, an OSU freshman guard, finished the spurt with jumper set up by a nice pump fake that made it 44-14 with 4:46 to go in the first half.
Prahalis had six in the spurt on a pair of three-pointers while Ferguson added five and Darryce Moore had four. Hill added two.
The 49ers responded with a 10-2 run to close the half but still trailed 46-24 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
Prahalis led all scorers with 12 points in the first 20 minutes, but it was a balanced attack for the Buckeyes as Hill added nine and post players Kalpana Beach and Ashley Adams added six apiece.
Hill had a pair of threes and a breakaway layup as the Buckeyes stretched the lead back to 28 in the opening 5:30 of the second half, and the 49ers did little to show they might make a game of it.
Ohio State’s lead hit 30 again on a Prahalis jumper with 12:46 left and peaked at 38 when Amy Scullion made a pair of free throws at the 2:58 mark.
Eleven different Buckeyes scored at least a point, including sophomore forward Darryce Moore, who joined Prahalis and Hill in double figures by scoring 10 points while grabbing seven rebounds. Ferguson finished with eight points and a steal in 16 minutes.
“I think our trust is building in each other and when a lot of people score that’s a good thing,” said Prahalis, who also had seven assists, two steals and a solitary turnover in 34 minutes.
The team’s lone senior was happy to see no ill effects from the team being only one day removed from an overnight flight home from California, where the Buckeyes won 77-75 in Berkeley on Saturday night.
“We just made it a point to not rest because we were tired,” Prahalis said. “We had to bring the intensity we needed. We didn’t want to use it as an excuse.”
Ohio State head coach Jim Foster did not expect fatigue to be a problem for his squad.
“When I woke up yesterday morning and I felt good I knew we wouldn’t have any problems,” the 63-year-old Buckeyes’ leader said with a smile, referencing the ability of youngsters to operate on little sleep as compared to someone his age.
He watched his team hand out 21 assists and continued to be pleased with the ball movement that aided a 50-percent shooting night from the floor (33 for 66).
“I think we’re getting better,” Foster said. “I think some individuals are getting better and collectively we’re getting better. This time of year you need to be getting better. You need to be building some blocks to put together a foundation.”
Freshman guard Hillary Sigmon led Charlotte with 14 points. Forwards Gabby Tyler and Jennifer Hailey added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Charlotte head coach Cara Consuegra was not so complimentary of her team’s effort as the 49ers fell to 5-5 on the year.
“Their coaching staff has done a great job with that team,” she said of the Buckeyes. “They play great. Hill and Prahalis are two of the best guards I’ve seen all year.
“I was disappointed with our effort. I thought we had a better game plan than we showed tonight. We didn’t start well and then it just kind of tumbled from there.”
Prahalis finished the game with 1,601 points for her career, a total good for 10th on the Ohio State list.
The Buckeyes have a quick turnaround again as they will return to the floor for another afternoon start on Tuesday when they face Southern Utah. The 2 p.m. tipoff is part of a double-header as the Ohio State men’s team will host Lamar at 8:30 that night. The university plans to honor legendary college basketball head coach Bob Knight, a member of the Buckeyes’ 1960 national championship team, prior to the men’s game.