Nov. 29, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes beat No. 15/22 California 83-71 on Sunday in the finals of the Buckeye Classic.
After hitting 5 of 15 shots in the semifinals, Ohio State's Jantel Lavender made all four of her field goals and both free throws as the Buckeyes (8-0) used a 15-0 run to take a 60-47 lead.
"They were really leaning on my left shoulder," said Lavender, who finished with 33 points and 14 rebounds. "They left (the right side) wide open. That was an advantage I had."
Prahalis had 14 points to go with her 14 assists, while Sarah Schulze scored 15 points, all on 3-pointers.
But when the Buckeyes fell behind for the first time, they went to their top two players.
"It's not that you have to play a perfect game, but you've got to play close to perfect," Cal coach Joanne Boyle said. "They know their identity. Eventually it's going to become the `Sammy and Jantel Show' and that's what it became for a while."
Lavender was selected the tournament's MVP. In the title game, she hit 11 of 22 shots from the field and 11 of 12 free throws. Prahalis joined her on the all-tournament team. Alexis Gray-Lawson also earned all-tournament honors.
With the Bears ahead 47-45--their only lead of the game--Prahalis slashed through the lane to hit a tying layup at the 17:33 mark. Cal missed its first shot and then had six consecutive turnovers while the Buckeyes, and especially Lavender, took over.
Lavender hit a stepback 12-foot jumper along the left baseline to give Ohio State a lead it would not relinquish, then took a Prahalis pass and hit a jumper from the elbow. After she made two free throws, guard Shavelle Little muscled inside against the Bears' tall and young frontcourt for an offensive rebound and put it in for a 55-47 lead.
With Cal continuing to have problems with Ohio State's defensive pressure at the other end, Lavender then hit another stepback jumper and was fouled, hitting the free throw. She closed the run with a basket inside.
After the Ohio State spurt, the Bears never got closer than 11 points.
The games were played at aging St. John Arena because Value City Arena wasn't available.
The Bears will head back to Berkeley with a 3-2 record. They will be back at Haas Arena next weekend when they host the Colliers International Classic, a tournament featuring Southern Illinois, Colorado State, and nationally-ranked Texas A&M. The Bears open the tournament hosting Colorado State. Tip time on Saturday is a 12 p.m. with the Texas A&M vs Southern Illnois game to follow at 2:30 p.m.