for this game

Prahalis, Lavender lead No. 7 Ohio St. past Wisc.

Feb 19, 2010 - 4:25 AM MADISON, Wis.(AP) -- Ohio State has already clinched its sixth straight Big Ten title, but Wisconsin didn't concede anything on Thursday night.

That's exactly what Buckeyes coach Jim Foster was hoping to see.

Samantha Prahalis scored 25 points and Jantel Lavender had 23 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 7 Ohio State to an 83-78 victory over Wisconsin.

The Buckeyes (26-3, 14-2 Big Ten) beat the Badgers for the 16th straight time and lead the all-time series 43-14. But this one wasn't easy.

"We need to win games like this," said Foster, who feels the high-scoring game will help the Buckeyes prepare for the postseason. "We're figuring out what's important in close games down the stretch."

Prahalis scored four points during a 7-0 run over the final 1:18 of the first half to give Ohio State a 37-32 lead. The Badgers pulled within two points twice in the final minute of the second half, but the Buckeyes made 7 of 8 free throws to hold on for the victory.

"(Wisconsin) plays very hard and we had to match their energy in order to win the game," Foster said. "And we did that. Quite frankly, it's the kind of game I would like to see more in the Big Ten."

Alyssa Karel scored 21 points for Wisconsin (18-8, 8-7), and Taylor Wurz scored 10 of her 18 points in the first half.

The scrappy Badgers pulled within two points twice in the final minute of regulation, but the Buckeyes made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.

There were six ties in the first half and the teams traded the lead seven times before Prahalis scored four points during a 9-0 run over the final 2:14 to give Ohio State a 37-32 lead at halftime.

Karel drained a 3-pointer from the right wing to help the Badgers pull within two points at 76-74 with 35 seconds left in the game.

Rae Lin D'Alie's lay up maintained a two-point margin at 78-76 with 29 seconds left, but the Badgers never got any closer.

Lavender scored 12 points in the second half for Ohio State, which shot 52 percent from the field in the victory.

Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone was pleased with her team's effort, but said the Badgers need to erase mistakes in order to contend in close games.

"You're playing a top 10 team in the country and this prepares our team," said Stone, whose Badgers are tied with Iowa for fourth in the conference. "Our team laid it on the line and battled. That was two really good teams playing out there and we fought to the bitter end."