Minnesota reaches first Big Ten tourney title game

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Janel McCarville was haunted by the memories of her first matchup with Jessica Davenport.

On Sunday, McCarville did something about it.

She scored the final four points in regulation and then teamed with Jamie Broback for Minnesota's first eight points in overtime, leading the 15th-ranked Golden Gophers to a 66-63 upset of Ohio State (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP) in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.

"I think the last game, I let her have the ball in any position she wanted," McCarville said. "This game, I tried to push her out. My teammates were swarming around her."

In their first game this year, Davenport shredded Minnesota for 35 points and 11 rebounds in a 65-53 Ohio State victory.

Minnesota (24-6) wasn't about to allow a repeat.

So McCarville played strong defense against Davenport, fronting her, using arm bars and forcing the Buckeyes to rely on other scorers. On the few occasions when Davenport did touch the ball cleanly in the post, Minnesota doubled down.

The result was quite different.

Davenport, the conference player of the year, finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Ohio State (28-4) got a career-high 23 points from Brandie Hoskins and 12 more from Ashley Allen but, without Davenport's interior scoring, it wasn't nearly enough for the tournament's top seed.

Ohio State lost for just the second time in 19 games.

"I drew a bigger crowd," Davenport said. "I got pushed out of my spot a little bit, I didn't get low enough and I think that was the difference from the first game."

Broback led the Gophers, the fourth seed, with 24 points despite early foul trouble, while McCarville delivered her usual dominant performance. She finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.

The strong one-two tandem was all Minnesota needed.

McCarville and Broback combined for 29-of-39 second-half points to send the Gophers into their first tournament title game. Minnesota, a Final Four team last year, will meet either Michigan State or Penn State on Monday night.

Ohio State, the regular-season co-champs, must now wait until the NCAA Tournament to break the school record for victories in a season.

"They just beat us off the dribble going right," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said of Broback and McCarville. "That's all they did. Broback just used the same move over and over again."

Their presence changed everything. Minnesota controlled the inside and never allowed Ohio State to pull away.

The Buckeyes had a chance to take control early when Broback drew her second foul less than seven minutes into the game. Three minutes later, McCarville hurt her right ankle when she landed on the foot of Ohio State's Stephanie Blanton.

During the next three minutes, the Buckeyes built a 24-15 lead.

That's when Minnesota coach Pam Borton gambled by sending both players back into the game with 7:57 left in the half.

The Gophers responded with a 10-1 run and tied the score at 25. Then they hung around.

"I am very proud of my team for coming out and playing like champions," Borton said. "Hopefully, we'll play like that tomorrow so we can be a champion."

It looked as if Ohio State would avoid the upset when Marscilla Packer hit a five-foot runner to make it 54-48 with 3:38 left. Minnesota rallied, though, tying the score on McCarville's two layups in the final two minutes.

When McCarville stole the ball on the Buckeyes' last possession of regulation, Minnesota had a chance to win it. But McCarville couldn't get off the shot inside and April Calhoun's shot from the left corner was blocked.

In overtime, the Buckeyes took a 59-58 lead when Hoskins made 1-of-2 free throws. But Minnesota answered with six straight points -- a putback from McCarville, a short jumper from Broback and two free throws from McCarville.

Ohio State had a chance to tie it, but Davenport's 3-point attempt bounced hard off the backboard, allowing McCarville and Broback to celebrate together near midcourt.

"They are a great tandem. They play together, they feed off each other," Borton said. "Sometimes there's not a lot of things we tell them to exactly out there, they just do it because they play so well together."