COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State coach Jim Foster usually has been able to count on one thing for four years: at least 10 points and 10 rebounds from star post player Jantel Lavender.
Lavender didn't disappoint in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday, scoring 30 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for her 75th career double-double, and Samantha Prahalis of Commack added 19 points and 10 assists to lead the fourth-seeded Buckeyes past Central Florida, 80-69.
Foster compared Lavender to one of the greatest players in NBA history.
"When Jantel came here, I told her a little story about Karl Malone -- a player she plays a lot like," Foster said. "He felt that before every game even started that he had 10 points because he was going to beat the other team's post player down the floor three times for layups and get early positioning and get fouled. Jantel has taken that to heart. That's the way she plays."
The only four-time Big Ten player of the year, Lavender scored in transition, on medium-range jumpers and on drop-step moves on the block. The Buckeyes (23-9) improved to 60-15 when she hits double digits in points and rebounds in the same game.
"Yeah, that's always important," she said of her two-pronged production. "I know that if I have a double-double or if I rebound well and I score, our team really feeds off of that. It's just fun. I guess that is how I measure if I play well."
UCF (22-11) more than held its own on the boards (a 39-33 advantage) and wasn't afraid to drive the lane. The Knights never backed down from the Big Ten Tournament champions, who stretched their winning streak to 10.
"We hung in there and fought," UCF coach Joi Williams said. "There were times that we could have easily given up. Ohio State did a great job."