OSU women survive against Michigan
By JIM MASSIE
COLUMBUS —The basketball came off the fingertips of Samantha Prahalis and seemed to hang in the air for an eternity until it finally found the rim, made one circular tour and dropped through the net.
“I kind of floated it up there,” Prahalis said. “It’s a tough shot — I just happened to get the roll.”
The basket by the Ohio State point guard, coming with 10 seconds remaining, wound up being the final word Sunday in a pounding 59-56 victory over Michigan in Value City Arena. The 59 points were a season low in front of a season-high crowd of 5,658.
The sixth-ranked Buckeyes (16-1, 4-0 Big Ten) never led by more than four points in their eighth consecutive win, and trailed the Wolverines (9-5, 1-3) 47-44 with 6:52 to play.
Down the stretch, Ohio State turned most often to junior center Jantel Lavender, the sophomore Prahalis and freshman guard Tayler Hill.
Despite facing double teams for much of the game, Lavender scored eight of her 18 points in the final 6:29. Hill drew two fouls taking the ball to the basket and added three free throws.
Prahalis, meanwhile, had a steal, two assists and scored off an assist from Lavender as the Buckeyes took a 57-53 lead with 2:42 remaining. Fifteen seconds later, a three-pointer by Veronica Hicks cut the Michigan deficit to one.
The teams traded defensive stops before Shavelle Little delivered the pass that set up the floater by Prahalis.
“I thought that [Little] was going to go up for the layup,” Prahalis said. “Then she made a great play because she saw that the big girl [Krista Phillips] was on her and she passed to me.”
A last-second three-point attempt by Courtney Boylan bounced off the rim and left the Wolverines with a difficult loss.
“I can’t even express in words what it would have been like if we had got this win,” sophomore forward Carmen Reynolds said.
Michigan handled the OSU press better than Illinois and Northwestern, but still surrendered 25 points off turnovers.
“In a game like this against a great team like Ohio State, you can’t afford to make mistakes,” Wolverines coach Kevin Borseth said.
“We got to the foul line, and I think that determined the game,” said OSU coach Jim Foster.