Top Seed Lady Lions Pull Away From Buckeyes in Second Half
By Tony Gerdeman
Alex Bentley scored 20 points for Penn State, and Maggie Lucas and Nikki Greene added 18 and 17 points respectively in the Lions' 76-66 quarterfinal win over Ohio State.
Penn State (25-4) shot 62.5% from the field in the second half, and blitzed the Buckeyes (18-13) with a 10-0 run to take a 49-39 lead with 14:05 remaining in the half.
It was the difference in the game.
"I think we just had some missed assignments on defense," said Buckeye guard Tayler Hill of the Penn State run. "And then offensively, we weren't really moving the ball."
Hill, who finished with a game-high 23 points, shot just 7-21 from the field, and 2-12 from two-point range. Her 23 points now give her 2,015 points for her career, making her the fifth Buckeye to reach that mark. She also moved into fourth place all-time on Ohio State's scoring list.
"I just think we had about a three-minute blip, four-minute blip of individual play," said Buckeye head coach Jim Foster of the 10-0 run.
"People forgot what was getting us great looks and getting us opportunities was great ball reversal. And at the first sign, it was a little bit harder to reverse, we had people just trying to go get their own shot. We're not that kind of team. We can't be that kind of team. When we moved the ball, I mean, obviously 19 assists out of 25 baskets, the ball was hopping. And what we wanted to do, we were able to get done."
Amber Stokes added 18 points for the Buckeyes, Ashley Adams scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds, and Raven Ferguson scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Ohio State played well in the first half, leading for much of it before Penn State closed strongly and led by two points at the intermission.
The two teams traded baskets to start the second half before Penn State went on their run. The Lady Lions eventually pushed their lead out to 18 points with 5:29 to play. The Buckeyes cut that lead to just eight points with 58 seconds to play following consecutive three-point baskets from Hill.
Hill was then fouled shooting another three-pointer with 42 seconds to play, but she would make only one of her three free throws, sealing any hopes for a miraculous comeback.
Penn State scored 10 points off of turnovers in the second half, compared to just one point for the Buckeyes.
"I think we made poor decisions," Foster said of the second half.
"They did not do anything differently in the second half. They hard hedged in the first. That's who they are. That's what they do. But in the first half, we were patient enough to take them wide, kick it back to the other side of the floor, and spread them. In the second half for that blip of time, we didn't spread them."
Now the Buckeyes are forced to sit and wait to see if they will be selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. Foster doesn't have high hopes, however.
"Well, stranger things have happened," he said of his team's NCAA hopes.
"I don't know. They always -- if you asked me today, were we one of the best 64 teams in the country right now, my response would be certainly we are. But there's X number of automatic bids. And you can look at things in many different ways. So I don't expect, but you never know. You never know until people get together in a room."
- Senior guard Tayler Hill tallied a game-high 23 points to extend her streak to 64-straight double digit
scoring efforts, longest streak in the Big Ten and fourth longest in NCAA Division I.
- Hill’s 23 points gives her 2,015 for her career, becoming the fifth player in OSU history to reach the 2,000-
point plateau. She sits alone in fourth on the Buckeyes’ career scoring list.
- Hill is the second Buckeye (Samantha Prahalis) to record 2,000 points, 300 assists (346) and 200 steals
- Junior center Ashley Adams was 6-of-10 from the field for 13 points tonight. She is shooting 68.0 percent
(34-50) from the field in last five games with 72 points, 34 rebounds and 13 blocked shots.
- Senior guard Amber Stokes tied her career best with five steals tonight.
- Sophomore Raven Ferguson pulled down a career-best nine rebounds
- Four of five Ohio State starters played all 20 minutes in the first half, with Hill playing 18 of 20 minutes.
Head coach Jim Foster did not go to his bench until the final two minutes of the half. All five starters
played at least 36 minutes.
- All 66 points came from the Buckeyes’ starting five.
- For the first time since 2008 Ohio State will not make an appearance in the semifinal round
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