Top-seeded Ohio State opened its defense of the Big Ten tournamnet title Friday night with a 66-55 victory over Illinois.
Junior standout Jantel Lavender outdueled Illinois senior Jenna Smith and finished with a game-high 19 points.
Senior Shavelle Little had three crucial steals to go with five points.
Junior Brittany Johnson netted 13 points with five rebounds.
Freshman Tayler Hill scored six points with three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Sophomore Samantha Prahalis scored 13 points with eight assists.
She also recorded three steals.
Junior Sarah Schulze made 2 of 5 shots from beyond the arc and finished with eight points with eight rebounds.
Ohio State led 33-24 at halftime.
Maria Moeller played nine minutes and recorded an assist.
Lavender and Prahalis speak with the Big Ten Network following the victory.
Jim Foster's squad plays Wisconsin Saturday in the semifinals.