The 16th-ranked Ohio State women’s basketball team had no trouble improving to 2-0. The Buckeyes scored the first 19 points and cruised to an 88-41 victory over Tennessee State in front of 2,710 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
Freshman center Jantel Lavender scored 10 points in the Buckeyes opening onslaught. She finished with a game-high 23 points and added five rebounds.
Every Buckeye healthy enough to play scored at least two points and 11 had at least one field goal, although Marscilla Packer was the only OSU player besides Lavender to reach double figures. Packer had 11. Maria Moeller had nine and Cherise Daniel added seven.
Lavender was 10 of 15 from the floor and made 3 of 4 free throws.
Again bolstered by the aggressive defense of point guard Shavelle Little, Ohio State forced 27 turnovers, off of which they scored 46 points. Little finished with a game-high five steals. The sophomore also scored six points and had two assists in 22 minutes.
TSU coach Tracee Wells said she felt her team was not surprised by the way the Buckeyes forced the issue on the defensive end, and she was disappointed with how her team reacted in its first game of the season, even with all five starters back from a year ago.
“Handling that pressure was definitely something I thought my returners were going to do a better job of, but it took us a lot longer to get ourselves under control,” Wells said.
While Little helped control things on the perimeter, the 6-4 Lavender took over down low. She blocked three shots and took advantage of her height at the offensive end by getting open in the post, where the tallest Tiger starter was just 6-0.
She was getting open on the low block when she had not already beaten the Tigers down the floor for a layup.
“I thought Jantel really got down the floor and established that we were going to run,” Ohio State head coach Jim Foster said. “I thought we got some quick easy baskets early and for except maybe a five-minute blip in the second half our defense stayed intense.”
“I just recognized early in the game that the post players weren’t sprinting down the floor,” Lavender said. “They didn’t recognize that I was a post player that could run and I just took advantage of the situation.”
Next the Buckeyes hit the road for a game at Boston University Saturday at 4 p.m.