At the half, it looked as if the Lady Lions would be handed their eighth straight loss in Columbus, Ohio.
But less than four minutes into the second half, a nine-point lead had evaporated.
The No. 8 Lady Lions (17-2, 7-0 Big Ten) defeated Ohio State (11-9, 1-6 Big Ten) 71-56.
With the victory over the Buckeyes, Penn State extended its winning streak to 11 games and notched its 14th-straight Big Ten victory dating back to last season, for the first time since the 1993-1994 season.
Despite being down by nine at the break, the first half started well for Penn State, which jumped out to an early 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game. But less than two minutes later, the Buckeyes erased the deficit, tying the score at seven and the Lions would never regain the lead in the half.
“On both sides we started out 7-0 with 18 minutes left in the first half, that is a lot of time left. It is not going to keep going our way and they are never going to score,” coach Coquese Washington told GoPSUSports.com. “On the flip side, when they went on their run and we went down eight, nine, 10 points in the first half, there is a lot of basketball, a lot of game left if you are willing to make the adjustments that you need to make.”
Both teams shot just 39.4 percent from the field in the first half, but the Lions went 0-for-5 from three-point range and committed 11 fouls, which sent the Buckeyes to the foul line nine times.
Big Ten leading scorer Tayler Hill netted 18 points in the first half for the Buckeyes en route to 28 points on the day, outscoring No. 3 leading scorer in the conference, Maggie Lucas, by 14 points in the first half.
“In the first half I just felt like we didn’t play together on either ends of the floor,” Washington said. “That was the most effective adjustment we made going into the second half was playing together on both ends of the floor, communicating more, rotating quicker. [We had] a lot more energy in the second half and that allowed us to execute the game plan.”
The Buckeyes held a 37-28 lead going into halftime and stretched their lead to 11 points early in the second, but Penn State came out of the locker room with a newfound intensity.
Lucas scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half, and Nikki Greene netted eight of her 11 points with less than 16 minutes left to play. Greene’s 11 points and 13 rebounds on the day set up her fourth double-double of the season.
Things began to flow on both ends of the court for Penn State, which shot nearly 46 percent in the second half and went 11-for-13 from the free throw line while outscoring the Buckeyes 43-19.
“We tried not to get rattled either way, we try not to get too giddy when get off to great starts we try not to get too disbanded when we don’t get off to great starts,” Washington said. “We want to play for 40 minutes and we want to play with a high level of focus and intelligence and play smart for 40 minutes. We don’t always accomplish the smart part, but we accomplish it more often than not.”