PITTSBURGH - Alexis Rack drove through and around Ohio State's slow-to-react defense for 30 points and seventh-seeded Mississippi State upset the second-seeded Buckeyes, 87-67, last night to reach the NCAA women's tournament round of 16 for the first time.
The Buckeyes' frustration showed when team leader Samantha Prahalis of Commack tore at her shorts in anger and was distraught on the bench after fouling out with nearly five minutes remaining. The 20-point loss was Ohio State's worst in the tournament since 1996.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed by as many as eight points in the first half, only to use their quickness, adept ball movement and outside shooting to seize control with an 18-0 run that turned a 32-26 deficit into a 44-32 lead. They never looked back in avenging a second-round loss to the Buckeyes a season ago.
Ohio State star Jantel Lavender, harassed all night by Chanel Mokango, scored 17 points - many after it was far too late. Lavender repeatedly had trouble posting up as the 6-5 Mokango used her long reach and quickness to deny passes or, when Lavender handled the ball, to pressure her into taking hurried or off-balance shots.
Mokango scored 19 points herself, Armelie Lumanu added 17 and Mary Kathryn Govero scored 15 by making 5 of 6 from three-point range.
The Lady Bulldogs were 12 of 22 from beyond the arc to 10 of 15 for Ohio State, the nation's best three-point shooting team. Ohio State (31-5) became the second No. 2-seeded team to lose in as many nights, joining Texas A & M.