COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — With her team getting outplayed and trailing by nine points at the break, Penn State coach Coquese Washington didn't hold back in the locker room.
Her veteran players took it from there.
Maggie Lucas scored 14 of her 18 points after the half and the eighth-ranked Nittany Lions saved their best for last in beating Ohio State 71-56 on Sunday, their 14th consecutive Big Ten win to set a school record.
The victory, in which they outscored the Buckeyes 43-19 after halftime, also gave them their fastest start since the 1993-94 season.
"At halftime Co really got into us, she really challenged us and she was yelling and screaming," said Alex Bentley, who finished with 16 points. "We just knew we had to come out and play (better) defense. So that's what we did."
Lucas said the main thrust of Washington's halftime talk was to stick together.
"We have a lot of trust for each other," she said. "We kind of had to be reminded of that after the first half, that we've played together for a long time and we can rely on each other."
Washington conceded that she was rather forceful in making her points in the locker room — "in my own way," she said quietly. It was clear the Nittany Lions got the message.
"We played with a lot more energy and focus and trust the second half," she said. "The first half I just felt like we didn't play together on either end of the floor. That was the most effective adjustment we made going into the second half was playing together more on both ends of the floor, communicating more, rotating quicker. We had a lot more energy the second half and that allowed us to execute the game plan."
Nikki Greene had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Penn State (17-2, 7-0 Big Ten), which has won 11 in a row since a 67-52 loss at Connecticut on Dec. 6. It's the sixth-longest winning streak in program history.
Tayler Hill, the Big Ten's leading scorer, had 28 points for Ohio State (11-9, 1-6), which had won the last six meetings at home against Penn State dating to Feb. 27, 2005. Ameryst Alston added 12 and Amber Stokes returned to the lineup and provided some energy after missing the last four games with a sprained knee.