Undefeated Ohio State overcame a slow start to cruise to victory No. 12 on the women’s basketball season with an 88-50 defeat of visiting Southern Utah.
Playing its second game in as many days, the 11th-ranked Buckeyes came out a bit flat but found themselves late in the first half in front of 2,593 fans at Value City Arena.
“I wouldn’t say it’s an issue,” junior guard Amber Stokes said after Ohio State’s third game in four days. “We just didn’t come out with energy. We weren’t really focused, but it happens. You’ve just got to play through it.”
Ohio State led by only four at the 8:30 mark but sophomore forward Martina Ellerbe soon followed with a layup that made it 27-21 and kicked off a 13-2 run.
Five different Buckeyes – including Kalpana Beach (four points), Darryce Moore (three), Ellerbe (two), Raven Ferguson (two) and Stokes (two) – contributed to the spurt that left Ohio State with a 38-23 lead with 2:30 to play in the half.
“I think some of us took advantage of the fact we were playing against Southern Utah, but we can’t treat these games lackadaisical,” said Ohio State guard Tayler Hill.
They led 38-25 at the intermission thanks in large part to outscoring the visitors 13-2 in bench points.
There was no such slow start in the second half as the Buckeyes roared out of the locker room and cruised to victory.
Their lead eclipsed 20 points for the first time when Samantha Prahalis’ three made it 49-28 with 15:22 on the clock and reached 30 a little more than six minutes later with a Hill layup.
Ohio State, which trailed by five points four minutes into the game, saw its lead peak at 40 with a layup by Aleksandra Dobranic with one minute left.
One day after 11 different Buckeyes scored during an 88-58 defeat of Charlotte, an even dozen tallied points against Southern Utah.
Hill led all scorers with 24 points while Prahalis, Stokes and Ferguson added nine and Beach had seven.
Ohio State head coach Jim Foster was glad to see so many players contributing.
“I think that’s the strength of this group,” he said. “People look at two players but we have a lot of players who can play the game and are doing it the way we want them to. I loved the last four minutes of the game.”
The Buckeyes outscored the opposition 12-5 after Foster pulled the last of his starters.
The Ohio State bench ultimately finished with a 38-11 scoring advantage for the game.
Kimie Hawkins led the Thunderbirds (4-7) with 11 points, and Carli Moreland had 10 rebounds.