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Lavender leads No. 14 Buckeyes past Purdue

Thursday, February 5, 2009

By RUSTY MILLER

AP Sports Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jantel Lavender had 19 points and 13 rebounds and No. 14 Ohio State pulled away from a halftime deficit Thursday night to beat Purdue 59-47.

Lavender, who leads the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding, stretched her career double-figure scoring streak to 53 games the same night she topped 1,000 in career points.

Star Allen chipped in with 14 points and Samantha Prahalis had 11 for Ohio State (19-3, 10-1), which won its fifth in a row to preserve a two-game lead in the conference. Prahalis and Maria Moeller had big 3-pointers in the second half as the Buckeyes pulled away.

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton led Purdue (15-8, 8-4) with 20 points.

Down a point at the half, the Buckeyes took the lead for good with a 12-2 run.

After Purdue had just seven turnovers in the first half, Ohio State forced six on the Boilermakers' first eight possessions. They would finish with 22.

The Buckeyes started going inside to frontcourt players Lavender, Allen and Andrea Walker, muscling for baskets or taking advantage of second chances off offensive rebounds.

The Buckeyes scored 12 of the first 14 points in the half, with Lavender and Allen each scoring four points and Prahalis scoring four and assisting on a basket apiece for the other two.

But that 35-26 lead wilted as Wisdom-Hylton continued to score off putbacks or spin moves. Her follow with just over 10 minutes left cut the lead to 39-38 before the Buckeyes responded on Lavender's jumper from the foul line and a left-handed reverse layup by Allen.

The Buckeyes had misfired on 3-pointers all night -- missing all but one of their first 14 shots. But two big 3s down the stretch helped them hold off the Boilermakers.

With Ohio State hanging on to a 45-42 lead, the Purdue defense collapsed on Lavender, but she flipped a pass to Prahalis in the corner. Prahalis, who was 0 for 8 behind the arc to that point, hit the 3 to push the lead to 48-42.

Ashlee Trebilcock later drove the baseline and fired a pass to Maria Moeller, who hit a shot from almost the same spot as Prahalis had moments before, upping the difference to 51-42.

Purdue never got closer than six points again.



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