12:00 PM ET, March 4, 2005
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Ohio State is showing it's ready for the national stage.On Friday, the Buckeyes (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP) demonstrated just how complete a team they are. They used a balanced scoring attack, a strong inside presence and a stifling defense to rout Wisconsin 70-46 in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals."I don't think we've peaked at all," Ohio State's Caity Matter said. "This is the postseason and we're playing for another championship."For Ohio State (28-3), the Big Ten co-champs and top seed in the tournament, it was total domination -- especially in the middle, where they outscored the Badgers 46-18 and outrebounded them 44-27.Big Ten player of the year Jessica Davenport had 18 points and four rebounds; Matter, the Buckeyes' top outside shooter, scored all 12 of her points in the first half; Brandie Hoskins added 14 points and seven assists; and guard Ashley Allen scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.And the defense forced 17 turnovers and limited the Badgers (12-16) to 29.3 percent shooting.The combination allowed Ohio State to produce its most lopsided victory in Big Ten tournament play. The previous mark was 22 in a 1998 first-round game against Michigan State. Ohio State will face No. 15 Minnesota in Sunday's semifinals. The Golden Gophers beat two-time defending champion Purdue 71-68 on Friday."Ohio State is a great team that is certainly deserving of its national ranking and the top seed in this tournament," Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said.The Buckeyes also tied a school record for victories in a season, originally set in 1984-85 and matched in '92-93 when they reached the national title game.Wisconsin has now lost seven straight to the Ohio State.While freshman Janese Banks led the Badgers with 16 points and five rebounds, Jolene Anderson didn't play like the conference's freshman of the year. She finished with seven points, less than half her average of 18.1, and missed all nine of her shots in the second half.It typified the Badgers' day."Inside, that is where we have to pick up quite a bit," Stone said.The Buckeyes made it look easy.Davenport dominated the middle, especially early in the second half when the Badgers had closed within eight. And when the Badgers collapsed around Davenport, it opened things up for Matter, Allen and Hoskins took.Matter took advantage in the first half when Davenport struggled to get shots. But after Wisconsin scored the first basket, the Buckeyes used a 21-3 run to take control.The Buckeyes still led 35-23 at halftime and extended the lead to 40-25 early in the second half. Wisconsin used a 7-0 spurt to get within 40-32 with 17:22 left, but Davenport scored nine points in a 15-5 run that gave Ohio State a 55-37 lead and sealed the game."I don't know that I've gotten to the point where Jesse got 18 points on 13 shots and I'm disappointed," Buckeyes coach Jim Foster said. "I love the fact we got four players in double figures. That's what it takes this time of the year."
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