2:00 PM ET, February 5, 2006
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.