INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Ohio State's Jantel Lavender already had scripted the final chapter of her record-setting Big Ten career.
Leave Indianapolis as a champion - again.
The four-time Big Ten player of the year and junior Samantha Prahalis delivered on the promise Sunday, each scoring 23 points to lead fifth-seeded Ohio State past second-seeded Penn State 84-70 for the Buckeyes' record-tying third consecutive tourney title.
"That's a three-peat," fans chanted before the trophy presentation.
As if Lavender and her teammates needed a reminder.
A month earlier, the Buckeyes (22-9) had lost their third straight game and their run of Big Ten domination appeared to be in jeopardy.
OHIO STATE 84, PENN STATE 70
Ohio State (22-9)
Tayler Hill 6-12, 2-3 17, Samantha Parahalis 9-16, 4-4 23, Ashley Adams 3-5 0-1 6, Brittany ohnson 2-7 0-0 4, Jantel Lavender 10-18 3-5 23, Amber Stokes 1-1 0-0 2, Martin Ellerbe 2-3 2-2 6, Sarah Schulze 1-3 0-0 3. Totals: 34-66 11-15 84.
Penn State (24-9)
Julia Troqele 0-6 1-2 1, Zahque Gray 5-8 0-0 13, Alex Bentley 7-16 0-0 16, Mia Nckson 7-14 3-3 17, Nikki Breene 3-11 0-0 6, Renee Womack 1-3 2-3 4, Maggie Lucas 1-10 6-6 8, Marisa Wolfe 2-3 0-0. Totals: 26-74 12-14 70.
3-Point goals: Ohio State 5 (Hill 3, Penn State 6 (Gray 3), Rebounds: Ohio State 44 (Lavender 15) Penn State 37 (Greene 9), Assists: Ohio State 19 (Prahalis 9), Penn State 11 (Bentley 3), Turnovers: Ohio State 12), Penn State 9. Halftime score: Ohio State 44, Penn State 39.
But the Buckeyes regrouped behind their inside-outside tag-team tandem and re-emerged at the tourney as a different team. They've now won nine straight, are headed to their ninth consecutive NCAA tourney and became the only second team in the 17-year history of the Big Ten tourney to win three titles in a row. Purdue also did it from 1998-2000.
And Lavender became the first player in tourney history to win three Most Outstanding Player awards.
"I just really enjoy this part of it (winning)," she said. "The championships and the cutting down the nets, it can never get old."
Not surprisingly, Prahalis and Lavender led the celebration, too.
Prahalis scored 14 points in the first half when the Buckeyes took control.
Lavender matched that total in the second half, extending her NCAA record of consecutive double-figure scoring games to 133. She is one game away from tying Courtney Paris' overall record for a career (134).
The Buckeyes also set a new championship game scoring record, breaking Purdue's mark set in an 80-76 victory over Illinois in the 1999 title game.