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Lavender leads No. 10 Ohio St. past Iowa 66-64

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Sunday was just another work day for Ohio State's Jantel Lavender.

The Buckeyes center tied a Big Ten tournament record by scoring 35 points, the last two coming on free throws with 1.9 seconds left to give the Buckeyes a 66-64 victory and the conference tournament championship.

It was a huge day for Lavender, who joined the 2,000-point club and had her 100th straight double-figure scoring game on the same day Ohio State (30-4) tied the school mark for victories.

Not surprisingly, the three-time Big Ten player of the year also earned her second straight Most Outstanding Player award for the tourney.

Ohio State, the six-time regular-season conference champs, won its second straight tourney and claimed the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes are the first team other than Purdue to win back-to-back tourney titles since Penn State in 1995-96.

Iowa (19-13) was led by Kamille Wahlin with 20 points and Kelly Krei with 18. The Hawkeyes had a chance to win it after Lavender's late free throws, but Wahlin's shot from near half-court missed the rim to the right.

It certainly wasn't easy for the Buckeyes, who had to rally from a 16-point second-half deficit.

They didn't take the lead until Lavender made two free throws with 3:51 left. She tied it again at 64 on a putback with 1:18 to go, and then made the two free throws to win it.

Iowa was in control until midway through the second half when Lavender and Samantha Prahalis triggered a 10-3 run that got the Buckeyes within 54-47 with 9:53 to go.

Ohio State was only getting started. Lavender's 5-foot bank shot got the Buckeyes within 60-58 and Prahalis drove through the lane for a nifty scoop shot to tie it at 60 with 5:04 to go.

Lavender finally broke the tie with two free throws, and then it was Iowa's turn to rally.

Wahlin tied it at 62 with two free throws and Jaime Printy put in a layup with 2:34 to go to give Iowa a 64-62 lead.

But Lavender finished the game with four straight points, and the Hawkeyes didn't score again, giving the defending tourney champs a second straight title.