Buckeyes too strong for Gophers

No. 4 Ohio State gave Minnesota more than it could handle in a 81-58 win.

Aleutian Calabay

The Minnesota women’s basketball team knew that going into Ohio State was going to be a tough challenge. What they may not have expected was just how hungry the Buckeyes were going to be to prove MondayâÄôs loss to Purdue was a fluke. Ohio State dominated the Gophers in nearly every aspect of the game, winning handily 81-58. âÄúIâÄôm disappointed in our play tonight,âÄù Minnesota head coach Pam Borton said. âÄúI donâÄôt think anyone showed up to play. IâÄôm not sure who we were expecting to play tonight, but that was an embarrassing display of Minnesota basketball.âÄù The Gophers had no answer all game long for Ohio State sophomore guard Samantha Prahalis. She torched Minnesota for 19 points, nine assists and four rebounds in the first half alone. Prahalis has continued to become an all-around spark for the Buckeyes this season, pairing perfectly with junior center Jantel Lavender to give Ohio State a multitude of scoring options. The BuckeyesâÄô duo has perhaps never been more dangerous than they were on Thursday night as each finished with a double-double. Prahalis finished with 23 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Lavender had 20 points and 11 rebounds. âÄúA lot of credit goes to Ohio State; they have a great point guard and a great center, two of the best players in the country,âÄù Borton said. The Gophers knew that they would need to start strong in order to have a chance at a victory in Columbus. Unfortunately for Minnesota, the exact opposite came to pass as the Buckeyes started the game on fire, jumping out to a 10-0 lead just two minutes into the contest. Two consecutive baskets by Jackie Voigt and 3-pointers by Kiara Buford and Brittany McCoy dropped Ohio State’s lead to 14-10. But the single digit deficit would not last long as Ohio State went on a 14-2 run to take a 31-15 lead. The game was never in doubt from that point on as Ohio State steadily pulled away from there. MinnesotaâÄôs need for injured junior guard China Antoine was clearly apparent as the team continues to be plagued by ball handling mistakes. The Gophers committed 19 turnovers while forcing the Buckeyes into just seven. Buford finished with 14 points, a team-high, and six rebounds. But the highlight player of the game for Gophers was senior center Zoe Harper, who finished with a season-high 13 points and nine rebounds and had to try to slow down Lavender. The Gophers will look to end their three-game skid as they face Illinois at Williams Arena on Sunday. Tip off is at 4 p.m.