COLUMBUS — The Michigan women’s basketball team defied history last night.

After trailing by 14 points early in the second half, the Wolverines climbed all the way back to beat the six-time defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes, 69-66. It was the first time in Michigan women’s basketball history that they swept the two-game season series with Ohio State.

And it was arguably one of the most hard-fought victories in Wolverine history too.

With the Buckeyes’ 6-foot-4, two-time All American Jantel Lavender lurking in the post, Michigan knew it would have to key its defense down low.

And for the most part, the Wolverines succeeded. Lavender was held to just 10 points, which ties her career low for points in a game. Michigan hounded her in the post all night long, often putting three or four defenders in her face as soon as she touched the ball.

“It’s frustrating when you can’t do what you like doing,” Lavender said after the game. “And (it’s frustrating when) it’s not really happening throughout the course of the game.”

But in the first half, it didn’t matter what Michigan did defensively.

Ohio State junior guard Samantha Prahalis, who scored just two points on 1-for-13 shooting in the loss to the Wolverines on Dec. 30, came out looking to redeem herself.

In the beginning: mission accomplished.

Prahalis was absolutely unstoppable, going 7-7 from the field (5-5 from deep) en route to a 19-point first half.

“She was the X factor in the first half,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “She was hitting step-backs, she was hitting pull-ups, taking it right at us — she was hot as a pistol.”

But Michigan has a few shooters of its own and they weren’t willing to let Prahalis steal the show completely.

Sophomore forward Rachel Sheffer, junior guard Courtney Boylan, senior guard Veronica Hicks and sophomore forward Kate Thompson all had two 3-pointers in the first half.

The Wolverines shot 67 percent from behind the arc in the first frame. And even after their best outside-shooting performance of the year, they still went into the break down 46-33.

“I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part in the first half,” Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said. “At times we got a little bit nervous, a little bit anxious offensively and turned the ball over.

“I just thought in the second half if we could get to the free throw line, continue doing what we’re doing and get to Prahalis a bit, we’d have a chance.”

To start the second half, Ohio State started hot from deep once again. After Sheffer hit two free throws to start the frame, Ohio State senior guard Brittany Johnson drilled her third 3-pointer of the contest to give the Buckeyes a 14-point lead — their biggest of the game.

But from there, Michigan went on a run of its own. After a pair of free throws by junior guard Carmen Reynolds, an Ohio native, Sheffer went on a tear, scoring eight straight points. Her 3-pointer with 14 minutes to go cut the Ohio State lead to just four.

Suddenly, it was an entire different ball game. The Buckeyes were wary of a Wolverine comeback. They became stagnant on offense, often settling for a contested jump shot rather than looking into the post to Lavender or 6-foot-5 freshman Ashley Adams. Michigan took the Buckeyes right out of their gameplan.

“If you look at the difference between what they did and what we did, you’ll see that they hit ten threes,” Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. “But they never forgot the post.”

The Wolverines kept the game within reach for the rest of the game. After a jumper by Hicks with 2:12 remaining, they found themselves down by just two.

Borseth called a 30-second timeout to gather his team.

“We just wanted to stay with it,” Borseth said. “We knew if we stayed close, got stops, and took care of it, (we would have a good chance to win the game).”

And Michigan did all three of those things. After Prahalis hit a jumper to increase the lead to four, Sheffer made what was arguably the best move of her career.

With Lavender guarding her, the 6-foot-1 Sheffer received the ball deep in the post with her back to the rim, spun to her right and converted the left-handed layup with Lavender in her face — and she was fouled on the play. She hit the freebie to cut the lead to one.

After a defensive stop, Sheffer was fouled again with 29 seconds remaining. Once again, she nailed the two shots.

“Just like every day in practice,” she said. “Make them, you know. No pressure really.”

The two from the charity stripe gave the Wolverines their first lead of the game since early in the second half. This time, it was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

After Ohio State guard Alison Jackson — who was only in the game because Prahalis fouled out—missed two free throws with 3 seconds remaining, the victory was all but sealed.

Sophomore Jenny Ryan hit both her free throws on the ensuing possession, and Michigan wrapped up its first victory in Columbus since 2001.

“The team fought,” Hicks said. “When it got to a three-point game … I was like, ‘We’re gonna win this.’ ”

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