Buckeyes Down LSU Despite Poor Shooting Night
By Tony Gerdeman with contributions from John Porentas
Led by a near-ironman starting five, the #7 Buckeyes (3-0) made their way south to Baton Rouge and came away with a 59-55 victory over LSU (0-2) Wednesday night despite a 7-24 shooting performance from center Jantel Lavender.
The Buckeye starters played 187 of a possible 200 minutes against LSU, as they played in their third game in six days—and also their final game without suspended point guard Samantha Prahalis. The absence of Prahalis has been a burden carried by all, but against LSU the burden seemed even heavier.
The starting Buckeye guards finished with just four assists, and the team as a whole only had seven. They struggled to distribute the ball in an effective manner for much of the game, but also never trailed after the 17:18 mark in the first half.
Facing frequent double-teams, Lavender had her own struggles on the night, but still finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Her six turnovers were indicative of the aggressive double-teams that LSU brought at her.
“We took Jantel Lavender out of the game by double teaming her,” explained LSU guard Latear Eason. “I think that worked toward the end of the game. We wanted to double team her and close back out on the shooters. That was our game plan coming in, to double her and try and get back to the shooter.”
Buckeye head coach Jim Foster also made (slight) mention of LSU's defensive strategy.
“It was very physical,” he said, and then repeated it once more.
“We tried to confuse her a little bit,” explained LSU head coach Van Chancellor. “One time double down, one time not. In the second half, we just kind of left it go and tried to make her turn the other way. I don't know that we did that good a job. She just missed some shots.”
“I thought we wore them down in the first half and that might have contributed a little bit to it.”
Ohio State turned the ball over 15 times and the Tigers had ten steals to the Buckeyes' one.
Neither team shot well. Ohio State held LSU to just 4-22 shooting from behind the three-point line. They shot just 10-36 from the field in the first half.
The Buckeyes lead 27-22 at the half, and came out of the intermission intent on building that lead. They finally managed to get the lead into double figures at 43-33 with 12:54 remaining on a jumper from Alison Jackson, who finished with a career-high 15 points on 7-10 shooting.
The Ohio State lead would stay in the seven to eleven-point range until the 7:08 mark when LSU's Jeanne Kenney hit a three-pointer to cut the Buckeye lead to 47-43.
The Tigers would then tie the game at 50-50 at the 2:09 mark, and that's when things went haywire.
After the tying jumper by Adrienne Webb, LSU thought Foster called a timeout. The player guarding the ball ran to the bench, and the player coming in ran onto the court. Buckeye guard Tayler Hill had her wits about her, so she passed the ball down to Alison Jackson, who was left alone for the layup. A technical foul was then called on LSU for having too many players on the court. Hill made one of the two technical free throws to give the Buckeyes the 53-50 lead.
It was not a lead that would last however. A few scoreless possessions later, Webb hit another game-tying shot, this one from three-point range with 52 seconds remaining.
On the very next possession, Hill took her defender right to the hole and scored, leaving 37 seconds on the clock. LSU would miss their next shot and Ohio State's Brittany Johnson pulled down the rebound and got fouled. She made one of two free throws. Hill would then add a couple of insurance free throws shortly after that, and LSU ended the game with a two-pointer at the buzzer.
It was a game not without flaws for Ohio State, yet the Buckeyes trailed for less than two minutes the entire way. Even with a short bench and facing a hostile atmosphere, they pulled out a victory against a deep and athletic team who was coming off of a loss and undoubtedly had something that they wanted to prove. And they couldn't.
“I think we did the stuff you have to do at the end of games,” said Foster.
“I'm playing right now a short roster. We get Prahalis back then two of our injured kids come back to practice this week, so we're going to get deeper. We had kids who knew they were going to have to be out there 36, 37, 40 minutes, whatever. At the end they did the things that you have to do to win games. You have to make some shots, make some plays, then you've got to limit the other team and get rebounds. I thought we did a very good job of that.”
Ohio State leaves this game with a 3-0 record without one of their two best players, and two of those wins came on the road. It hasn't been easy at times, but it's been as close to ideal as the Buckeyes could have hoped. These three games without Prahalis will reap benefits for a long while to come.
Up next for the Buckeyes is a home game against East Tennessee State on Monday at 7:00 pm.
· Jantel Lavender recorded her 59th career double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Ohio State is now 49-10 when she records a double-double.
· Lavender has scored in double figures in all 105 career games, the longest active streak in Division I.
· Alison Jackson posted a career high with 15 points. She is averaging 11.0 points through the first three games.
· Ohio State is now 24-36 all-time vs. SEC teams and 5-5 in the Foster era.
· The win was just the second for Ohio State in six meetings all-time with LSU.
· Ohio State made 14-of-18 free throws to LSU’s 5-of-9. The Buckeyes are now 3-0 this season and 72-5 over the past three-plus years when it makes more at the free throw line.
· Ohio State outrebounded LSU, 46-39.
· Tayler Hill, who made the game-winning basket in the final minute, played all 40 minutes for the third consecutive game and finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and just one turnover.
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