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No. 7 Ohio State holds off Hoosiers' rally for win

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Ohio State was ready for the big
Indiana run.

Jessica Davenport scored 23 points and Brandie Hoskins added 17
as the No. 7 Buckeyes held off Indiana's second-half comeback and
beat the Hoosiers 61-45 Sunday.

"Every time we play IU, it's a tough game," Davenport said.
"They're aggressive defensively, but if we take our time, we'll
get good shots."

It was the ninth straight victory for the Buckeyes (18-2, 9-1
Big Ten) and their fifth in a row over Indiana (12-10, 6-5).

Ohio State never trailed and led by as many as 12 points in the
first half. The Buckeyes still led by eight at halftime, but
baskets by Whitney Thomas and Cyndi Valentin started Indiana's
comeback at the start of the second period.

Hoskins hit one of two free throws for a 32-27 lead, but the
third of Nikki Smith's four 3-point baskets pulled the Hoosiers
within 32-30 with 14 minutes to go. Valentin, Indiana's leading
scorer this season, then went out with her fourth foul and Ohio
State went on an 11-2 run.

Indiana never recovered.

"It's inevitable when you play a good team, they're going to
make a run," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "I think we
handled it. You have to execute your offense, and when a team is
trying to take things away from you, you have to find other
answers."

One of the Buckeyes' answers was to keep the pressure on
Valentin, who returned but fouled out with just over 5 minutes to
go.

Two straight baskets by Davenport, a steal and layup by Kim
Wilburn and another basket by Hoskins pushed the Buckeyes' lead to
56-42. The final score, on another basket by Davenport in the
closing seconds, marked the biggest lead of the game.

"I thought we really had a shot when we cut it to two,"
Indiana coach Sharon Versyp said. "And then we made some not-smart
turnovers. That's not how you're going to overcome a deficit. The
next thing you know, it's a 10-, 11-point game again."

Smith led Indiana with 12 points, all on 3-pointers.

"I felt they were taking away a lot of other options," Smith
said of her long-range shooting. "We were attacking their zone and
that opened up our shooters. Luckily, they were falling for me."

Davenport, the Big Ten's scoring and rebounding leader, had 13
points and eight of her nine boards in the first half, when the
Buckeyes appeared to take control from the start. After a basket by
Valentin, who finished with eight points, Indiana was scoreless for
more than 6 minutes, and two free throws and a basket by Davenport
and a fast-break layup by Hoskins put Ohio State up 13-2.

"Davenport and Hoskins put on a great display together,"
Versyp said. "We got off to a poor start, and that pretty much
sealed the deal."

The Hoosiers came within 22-18 after consecutive 3-point baskets
by Smith, but Davenport scored the next five points before Thomas
hit one of two free throws with a 30 seconds left to make it 27-19
at the break.

"Indiana's always been a physical team," Hoskins said. "When
a team makes a run, you can't get down. You've got to keep playing.
Coach told me to be more aggressive. I wanted to take what they
gave me, not just force it up."

Indiana's Jenny DeMuth had one steal, leaving her two short of
the school-record 210 set by Tisha Hill in 1989-92.