For a while, Sammy Prahalis ruled the back pages of newspapers on Long Island. Even with the spotlight on New York’s professional sports, she managed to grab a headline, sneak onto the opening flap of a paper and make news with her basketball persona. She was your typical once-a-decade type player and took her skills from Commack High School to Ohio State University, where she’s stolen the court and media coverage once again.
After starting all 35 games her freshman year and leading all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (10.2 ppg), Prahalis was one of 13 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given annually to the most outstanding point guard in the country. Prahalis really knows how to make her mark and wastes no time.
After her first collegiate game (vs. Army), she pushed the opening day jitters aside and hasn’t stopped performing above average.
“It felt unreal,” she said of the game. “The introductions, all the people in the stands, the announcers, the atmosphere.”
Prahalis saved her bravado for March when she lit up Sacred Heart with a career-high 23 points and seven assists in her first NCAA tournament game. Against Stanford in the Sweet 16, she scored 19. OSU lost the game, but Prahalis learned an invaluable lesson.
“You saw how hard you have to play to win,” she said. “Each of those NCAA games was special.”
Prahalis said she stays in touch with some of her old Commack teammates and attended a game at her alma mater on her Christmas break. She also makes time in the fall to attend OSU football games, and catches men’s basketball games with her teammates.
“It’s a great atmosphere. The football games are crazy. There are people every where.” This year she’s averaging 16 points per game and nearly 32 minutes of playing time. Aside from winning a national championship, she’s working on her leadership abilities and improving an already developed jump shot. “I’m trying to work on every aspect.” That’s what makes the great ones even better.
Photo (Courtesy OSU)