Buckeyes Benefit from Balanced Scoring to Top Badgers

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Indianapolis, Ind.-- As they had through out the regular season, the top-seed and Co-Big Ten Champion Ohio State (28-3, 14-2) used tough defense and a multi-faceted offensive attack to defeat the Wisconsin Badgers (12-16, 5-11) by a score of 70-46.

Consensus Big Ten Player of the Year Jessica Davenport continued her impressive sophomore season, despite sitting out a good portion of the second half. She finished with a game high 18 points, five rebounds, and two blocks. She was one of four Buckeyes to finish with double-digit points in the game.

Along with Davenport, Ohio State senior guard, Ashley Allen scored 11 points and collected 11 rebounds in front of her hometown crowd in Indianapolis, to earn her first double-double of the season.

As they were in their opening-round game against Indiana, the Badgers were paced by the freshman duo of Janese Banks and Big Ten Freshman of the Year Jolene Anderson. Banks led Wisconsin with 16 points and five rebounds. Anderson finished with seven points and four steals.

The two teams had met twice previously in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals, with Ohio State winning both games, most recently in 1999. During the regular season, the Bucks and Badgers met only once, with Ohio State winning that meeting by a score of 88-67. In that contest, Davenport scored 36 points.

Early in the game, Ohio State was able to work the ball inside, either by dumping it in to Davenport or by dribble penetration, and then kick out for an open mid-range jumper. Davenport poured in five and Matter four, in the opening four and a half minutes. After exchanging scores to reach an early 7-5 Ohio State lead, the Bucks went on a 14-0 run to go up 21-5.

In the stretch, Ohio State senior Caity Matter, the league's three-point leader, hit a deep shot from behind the arc. The guard finished with 12 points, but did not score in the second half, after seeing limited action with the game in hand.

With 8:30 left in the first half, Jolene Anderson recorded steals on back-to-back Buckeye possessions which resulted in lay-ups to end the scoreless streak and slow down Ohio State's momentum.

Wisconsin continued to claw back and implemented a full-court trapping press with five minutes remaining in the opening period, which led to a number of Ohio State turnovers and rushed shots. The press, and the fast-breaks that resulted, allowed the Badgers to pull back within nine.

The Buckeyes used seven-last minutes points, including a three-pointer from Matter to get the lead back to 12 at the half, 35-23. Matter hit two threes and led the Scarlet and Gray with 12 first half points. The Badgers clogged the lane, often doubling-down on Davenport, limiting the sophomore to nine points in the first 20 minutes of action.

In the second half, Ohio State continued a trend of making ill-advised cross-court passes, which more often than not, resulted in turnovers and fast-break opportunities for UW. The staunch Badger defense kept the game within striking distance through the first seven minutes of the second half, but Ohio State resolved to get Davenport as many touches as possible and the Bucks benefited from the strategy opening up a game-high 17-point lead half way through the second stanza.

The Badgers continued playing tough defense, but the speed and strength of the Buckeyes allowed the No. 1 seed to stretch its lead to 21 with 4:30 left in the game.
Davenport exited the game 13 minutes into the second half and did not return.

Senior guard Stephanie Rich also contributed to the Badger cause in her last Big Ten game, scoring six and dishing out four assists and snatching four steals. Junior Jordan Wilson notched six points of her own in the effort.

Buckeye sophomore Brandie Hoskins also turned in a strong performance with 14 points and seven assists.

Ohio State will next play at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday in the tournament's semifinals against the winner of the quarterfinal match-up between Minnesota and Purdue. Ohio State beat Purdue twice during the regular season and Minnesota once, their only previous meeting of the season. Check back to BigTen.org for the latest news, scores, and stats from the 2005 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament.