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No. 3 Buckeyes, Lavender run over Eastern Illinois

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)

No. 3 Ohio State opened the season with a convincing victory, and Jantel Lavender still wasn't satisfied. "We did a lot of good things but we need to get better," she said. Lavender had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Buckeyes to a 91-68 win over Eastern Illinois on Friday in the first round of the preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament. Sarah Schulze had a career-high 18 points and reserve Andrea Walker added 10 for Ohio State. Kelsey Wyss finished with 12 points for the Panthers and Ta'Kenya Nixon had 10. "We saw why Ohio State is the third-ranked team in the country," Eastern Illinois coach Brady Sallee said. Ten players scored for the Buckeyes, who shot 51.5 percent while scoring 51 points in the second half. "Our team learned what we need to work," Lavender said. "The first game we had a lot of jitters. Everyone was excited." Ohio State opened the second half with a 12-5 surge to take a 52-35 lead. Its largest margin was 24 with 3 minutes to go. Schulze made three of six 3-pointers and also had nine rebounds. Samantha Prahalis had eight points and eight assists. "They have all the pieces," Sallee said. The Buckeyes scored 19 straight points to go up 27-8 with 8 1/2 minutes left before Sydney Mitchell's 3-pointer started a 16-2 run for the Panthers. "I like the group we had out there at the start," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "All five can score. All five can shoot the three." A moment of silence was observed before the game for Eastern Illinois assistant Jackie Moore, 28, who died Nov. 4 after collapsing during a personal workout. The team will attend her funeral in her hometown of Windsor, Ontario, on Saturday. "They found solace on the floor," Sallee said. "That's where Jackie wanted us to be." The Buckeyes will host Chicago State or Bowling Green in the second round on Sunday. Eastern Illinois plays in the consolation bracket against an opponent to be determined.

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