2:00 PM ET, January 23, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- With a team that has 10 players averaging at least 8½ minutes a game, Ohio State coach Jim Foster is never out of options."We have weapons and we're going to use 'em," he said Sunday after eight players scored, nine had rebounds and seven contributed assists in a 71-59 win over Northwestern.The victory was the eighth in a row for Ohio State (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP), which had another eight-game streak earlier this season.Brandie Hoskins scored 18 points as the Buckeyes (19-2, 6-1 Big Ten) won their 10th in a row over the Wildcats. Jessica Davenport added 14 points and Michelle Munoz had 11.Caity Matter, averaging 14.2 points a game, scored six. She seemed content to move the ball around the perimeter or dump it inside to Davenport when she wasn't creating havoc on defense."They continue to prove that almost anybody can step in and do the job. We were outmatched and outmanned today. We lost to a fantastic ballclub," Northwestern coach Beth Combs said. "They've got a big three that is always going to get it done. Then they can go 10 deep and hurt you. Their people off the bench know their roles and know how to win ballgames."Ifeoma Okonkwo scored 20 points and Sarah Kwasinski had 12 for Northwestern (4-16, 1-6). The Wildcats have lost four in a row and six of seven.If a big lineup doesn't do the trick for Foster and the Buckeyes, he can switch to a smaller, quicker five who can press all over the court."Through the course of a long season, it bodes well," Foster said of his team's depth. "Your players can stay fresh and make things happen. The other night, Brandie went 38 minutes and played very, very well. Today she gets 24 minutes and scores 18 points, has four offensive rebounds and a lot of energy."The Buckeyes, leading the nation in field-goal percentage at .517, hit eight of their first 10 shots from the field, including all four 3-pointers to go with four free throws. They then missed nine field goals in a row and Northwestern fought back to cut the lead to 24-19.But Ohio State scored 11 of the half's final 13 points, including Hoskins' bucket while falling down as the buzzer sounded, for a 35-21 halftime lead. Davenport scored five points in the spurt.Hoskins said it was Ashley Allen's defense that set the tone for the late surge."When you see somebody hustling like that, the rest of the defense wants to play better to help her," Hoskins said.Northwestern trailed 40-25 after Kwasinski hit a turnaround jumper less than two minutes into the second half. But Ohio State scored on 11 of its next 12 possessions to push the lead to 64-32."They just wear you down," Combs said. "One play at a time over 40 minutes, they just wear you down."The Buckeyes scored 52 points in each of their last two wins -- 52-50 over then-No. 4 Rutgers a week ago and 52-30 over Indiana on Thursday night -- but passed that figure with almost 14 minutes remaining."There were a lot of times when Michelle's person would drop down to help on me," Davenport said. "Being able to reverse the ball and move the ball like we did is good for us."Substituting freely for most of the second half, the Buckeyes ended up shooting 48 percent from the field while hitting 7-of-16 3-pointers.
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