7:30 PM ET, February 20, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State was so dominant in its win against No. 14 Michigan State that Spartans coach Joanne McCallie felt the need to apologize for the lopsided outcome.Jessica Davenport scored 18 of her 22 points in the first half, and the Buckeyes (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) went on to a 69-38 victory over the Spartans on Monday night."Women's basketball has advanced more than that," McCallie said. "I've been on both sides of games like that. Sometimes you hear coaches sit back and talk about why their team didn't play well. I'd like to give credit to Ohio State. They outplayed us, outfought us, outhustled us, outcoached us -- outeverythinged us."The Buckeyes (23-2, 13-1 Big Ten), who maintained their one-game lead in the Big Ten with two games left, built a 19-point lead at halftime while shooting 62 percent from the field."Jess is calling for the ball more and we know if we get her established then it opens things up for everything else," Ohio State forward Debbie Merrill said.It was the Buckeyes' 14th win in a row and gave coach Jim Foster No. 600 for his career. He has just 252 losses in 28 seasons at Saint Joseph's, Vanderbilt and Ohio State. His players tousled his hair, patted him on the back and presented him with the game ball at midcourt immediately after the final seconds ticked away.Asked if No. 600 was any different from the 599 before it, Foster said, "No. It just means I've had very good players and assistant coaches. Anybody who doesn't understand that is looking at a fool in the mirror every day."Still, Davenport said the milestone meant a lot to her and her teammates."Coach Foster is a pretty special guy, a great coach and a great guy," she said. "To be a part of his coaching legacy is a great thing."Brandie Hoskins added 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists, with Merrill tossing in 13 points in the battle of last year's Big Ten co-champions.It was the largest margin in the last 15 meetings, dating to 1999.No one scored more than seven points for the Spartans (20-8, 10-5), who hit just 29 percent of their shots from the field and were 1-of-13 on 3-pointers. Winners of their last six games, they came in as the conference's No. 3 team in scoring at 69.9 points per game."A boring, pathetic game like we played doesn't attract fans of any kind," McCallie said.The game was dramatically different from the first meeting a month ago. With the score tied and 3 seconds left, Ohio State inbounded to Marscilla Packer who tossed a 40-foot pass to Davenport. She caught the ball and shot it in one motion, banking the ball in to beat the buzzer.This time the Buckeyes led by as many as 34 points in the second half and were able to go to their bench in the final minutes. They host Purdue (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) on Thursday night with a chance to clinch their first outright Big Ten title since 1987."Our focus in this game was to execute our offense and defense and to play our type of game," Davenport said.Davenport had a big first half despite being cornered by three defenders almost every time she touched the ball. Her teammates continually dumped lob passes in over defenders who were fronting her, leaving the 6-foot-5 first-team All-American to shoot layups.When the Spartans dropped back behind her, she showed her touch from 12 feet. Three times she caught bounce passes, pivoted away from the defender and hit bank shots."We were not bad [defensively] on Jess. I know that sounds funny," McCallie said. "She's grown and gotten more agile as a player. Once upon a time, if you took those [shots from the] blocks away ... but now she goes wide. I'm surprised she didn't hit a 3 tonight."Still, Michigan State trailed just 26-19 with 5½ minutes left in the half. The Buckeyes then sprinted away to score 16 of the half's final 20 points to build a 42-23 lead.Ohio State scored in transition, played tough defense and hit 8-of-11 free throws."We played well," Hoskins said. "Our main focus was to play hard, move the ball and play hard on defense. We talked the whole game on defense and communicated well."The top 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes misfired on their first five shots behind the arc. But in the final minute of the half Packer hit a 3 from the left corner to break the ice. Hoskins then drove the baseline in the waning seconds and fed Kim Wilburn for another 3 from almost the same spot as time expired."We've evolved from where we were early in the season," Foster said.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||16-57 (.281)||28-52 (.538)|
|3P Made-Attempted||1-13 (.077)||5-16 (.313)|
|FT Made-Attempted||5-8 (.625)||8-13 (.615)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||8 (0/0)|