Michigan State Falls To No. 11 Ohio State, 64-56
Jan. 15, 2012
Samantha Prahalis scored four of her 15 points in less than a minute late in the game, helping the Buckeyes beat the Spartans.
The senior from Commack, N.Y., said she had "Shhh...." tattooed on her finger during her freshman year for moments like the one at Michigan State where the announced crowd of 14,181 screamed early and often.
"I was hard to hear, it was super loud," Prahalis said. "We just concentrated and we were able to hit some big shots."
Tayler Hill, whose 3-pointer with 3 minutes left in the first half put the Buckeyes ahead for good, scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Ohio State (17-1, 4-1 Big Ten) handed the Spartans (12-6, 4-1) their first loss in the conference.
The Buckeyes moved into a second-place tie with Michigan State and Nebraska behind Purdue, but Buckeyes coach Jim Foster said it's too early to get a gauge on the conference race.
"This is going to be a very interesting Big Ten year," Foster said. "I think it's going to go right to the end."
Ohio State enjoyed some 11-point cushions in the second half and led the Spartans 54-44 with 7-plus minutes left in the game.
After Michigan State pulled within three points for a second time in the final minutes, Prahalis made a jumper and two free throws to give Ohio State a seven-point lead with 35 seconds left.
What does Foster think of Prahalis' playfully taunting tattoo on her finger?
"I think it is very Samantha, very New York," he said. "For a kid that hears a lot from folks about a lot of different topics while she's playing, it's a good subtle way to remind people to be nice."
Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant thought her team was too nice on the court.
"We were a little soft quite frankly," she said. "We were complaining about getting bumped and whatnot instead of holding our space and finishing."
Reserve Darryce Moore had 11 points and Amber Stokes scored 10 for the Buckeyes, who made 48 percent of their shots and held Michigan State to 36-percent shooting.
The Spartans trailed by seven points at halftime when their best shot to score on offense was by getting a rebound -- nine of which they got off the offensive glass in the first 20 minutes -- because they connected on just 27 percent of their shots in the first half.
"It was terrible, we couldn't make a shot," Merchant said. "We dug ourselves a hole."
Michigan State couldn't get out of it in part because it made just 13 of 22 free throws while Ohio State connected on 10 of 11 at the line.
"On the stat sheet it looked like we should've won the game, doubling them up on free throws," Merchant said. "There's a nine-point swing and we lost by eight."
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