BIG TEN WEEKLY RECAP
Minnesota fans who criticize the attitude of Ohio State senior guard Samantha Prahalis may be venting little more than hot air.
Prahalis earned her fifth career Big Ten Player of the Week honors, recognized for her leadership in No. 18/19 Ohio State’s three victories spanning from Nov. 21-17.
If Prahalis feeds off performances like her 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a 77-68 victory over No. 20/23 Louisiana State Sunday, expect the Commack, N.Y. native to be a first-round candidate in the 2012 WNBA Draft.
However, Prahalis will not have to carry a guard-oriented Ohio State team alone. Minneapolis South standout Tayler Hill is helping the Buckeyes find new ways to win without a dominant post game. The junior guard averaged 19 points per game in Ohio State’s three wins this week, including a 23-point output against LSU.
After the Buckeyes registered enough games to qualify for statistical leader boards, Hill and Prahalis found themselves tied for first in the Big Ten Conference for scoring. Both are averaging 19.6 points per game and could make Ohio State a sleeper in a conference they dominated in recent years.
Their scoring proficiency can be attributed to their pinpoint accuracy in field goals and free throws. Hill is fourth in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 47.5 percent, with Prahalis’ 45.1 percent accuracy sixth highest in the conference.
Ohio State’s backcourt is no less adept from the perimeter. Hill’s 37.9 three-point field goal percentage is fourth in the conference, with Prahalis in ninth at 34.4 percent.
In free throws, Prahalis has hit 23 of 24 shots this season, tied for first in the Big Ten with Michigan State’s Porsche Poole. Hill holds the sixth spot with an accuracy of 88.6 percent.
Following other Minnesotans on Big Ten teams, Michigan’s Courtney Boylan has dropped a bit in conference standings, but her Wolverines remain undefeated at 7-0 following three wins in three days at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Boylan averaged 14.7 points per game in the trio of contests, defeating Prairie View A&M, Washington State and Marquette.
The Chaska, Minn. native is currently 10th in the Big Ten in scoring with 15 points per game. Boylan’s 50 percent field goal accuracy is second in the conference, and she remains on the free throw leader board in ninth place at an 80.6 percent clip.
Wayzata native Kate Thompson is also representing Michigan on a Big Ten leader board, with her eight blocks tied for ninth in the conference.
St. Paul Central alum Georgie Jones posted two double-doubles for Indiana last week, although both games resulted in losses. The senior forward had 13 points and 11 rebounds in last Tuesday’s 77-72 loss to Miami (Ohio), followed by 10 points and 11 boards in a 69-58 loss to Toledo last Friday.
While the Hoosiers are just one game above .500 at 4-3, Jones is ninth in the Big Ten in rebounds.
Minnesota itself remains trenched in some conference leader boards. Gophers forward Katie Loberg holds the third spot in rebounding. Freshman guard Rachel Banham is tied for seventh in assists with 24, shares the sixth position in steals with senior guard Kiara Buford as both have 14. Reserve guard Leah Cotton sits at 13 steals, good for a tenth-place tie in the conference.