Johnson leads No. 8 Ohio State, 84-47
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—Wright State knew it didn’t have much of a chance at winning the game. Brittany Johnson made sure.
Johnson scored 14 points, including 11 straight in a 15-3 first-half run, to lead No. 8 Ohio State past the Raiders 84-47 on Tuesday night.
“We’re moving the ball better,” Buckeyes coach Jim Foster said. “(Johnson) took the ball to the basket with her left hand one time. It’s just good to see her diversify the way she’s scoring, and understand what a good shot is for her.”
Jantel Lavender led the Buckeyes (11-1) with 18 points and Tayler Hill added 12. Samantha Prahalis chipped in with seven points and eight assists.
“What we came up here for, we never mentioned the word ‘winning,”’ Wright State coach Bridgett Williams said. “We talked about execution, being able to execute against this level on offense and defense is something that was very important to us in preparation for our conference.”
Ta-myra Davis had 15 points and Erica Richardson added 12 for Wright State (4-4), winless in three meetings with its big, in-state neighbor.
“It’s just an exceptional team,” Williams said of the Buckeyes. “It’s what exceptional teams do. They saw that we were really trying to buckle down and play defense and great teams do what they did—they just rose to that level.”
The Buckeyes shot 63 percent from the field, missing several shots late while threatening the school mark of 72 percent set the first time the teams met in 2003.
Ohio State cleared its bench early, a crowd of 2,270 getting a chance to cheer for players who seldom get much time in the spotlight.
“It was good for everyone to get into the game. All 12 players that played scored. That’s all good stuff,” Foster said. “I think shooting 63 percent with as many people as we played is a very good sign that we executed and did the necessary things.”
Wright State hung tough early, trailing 13-12 midway through the first half. The Buckeyes went on a 10-0 run with Johnson scoring the final three points. Johnson then had the next eight points for the Buckeyes, who were never tested in the second half.
Lavender was coming off a difficult game at Mississippi on Sunday in which she had 10 turnovers and sat out the final few minutes. Her teammates picked her up, however, with Ohio State trailing by 10 with less than 3 minutes remaining. The Buckeyes ended the game on a 12-0 run to win, 79-77.
The athletic, 6-foot-4 center said she tried to let the game come to her on Tuesday night.
“I just wanted to really take my time and make sure and check the middle and know when the double-teams were coming,” she said after hitting nine of 14 shots from the field and grabbing seven rebounds. “Just basically, relax a little bit, make better passes and take my time.”
Quick guard Shavelle Little, who received her diploma during a special ceremony at halftime, helped turn the tide with four steals in only 16 minutes.
“We had good energy,” she said. “Just coming back from Ole Miss—we didn’t play our best but we came away with a big win—we know we have to get better for the games down the road.”