3:05 PM ET, December 31, 2006
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Ohio State's Jessica Davenport had another big game at Iowa to stave off the Hawkeyes' upset bid.The senior center scored 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting and collected 11 rebounds to lead Ohio State (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today; No. 7 AP) to a 73-67 victory Sunday, one year after torching Iowa for 34 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists in the same arena."I'm glad this is the last time we'll have to see her in Carver-Hawkeye Arena," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "She did another tremendous job with shooting well and getting boards."Marscilla Packer added 23 for the Buckeyes (11-1), who rallied in the second half on 67 percent shooting.Ohio State trailed 32-31 at halftime of its Big Ten opener, but Davenport scored 16 points after the break and the Buckeyes outlasted Iowa (9-6).The majority of her buckets came against a zone defense, which Ohio State coach Jim Foster said Iowa applied more frequently than any other opponent this season."I just think we were discombobulated," he said of the early play. "We have two freshmen point guards. Sometimes they play like freshmen, and I think once they got more comfortable, we got more comfortable."Iowa pulled within a point with just under 10 minutes left, but a 7-0 run by the Buckeyes -- which included a layup and 3-pointer by Packer -- made it 61-53.Kristi Smith answered with a three-point play, but Packer hit another 3-pointer to push Ohio State's lead to 64-56. The Hawkeyes got within three when Smith curled around the right baseline and made a long jumper to bring the home fans to their feet.But Packer responded again with a deep shot of her own with less than two minutes remaining.Smith sank a 3-pointer from near the top of the key with just 90 seconds to go, but Davenport caught a lob pass and put in a layup to answer.Iowa didn't score again."When we got that lead, it was kind of like, 'We're going to keep this lead and not let it go away," Davenport said. "So we really picked up our defense after that."On paper, the matchup appeared a laugher. Ohio State entered the game ranked first in the Big Ten in scoring offense (78.7), scoring margin (+22.5), and assists (18.91), among other categories, while Iowa was last in the conference in scoring defense (69.5.), turnover margin (-3.36), and rebounding (36.9).Yet the Hawkeyes' rattled off a 10-0 run midway through the first half, led by Wendy Ausdemore's five points, to push their advantage to 23-19.Along with the active zone defense, good ball movement kept the Hawkeyes in the game -- they finished with 23 assists and 13 turnovers.Foster said he wasn't surprised to take one of the Hawkeyes' best shots of the season."I've been doing this too long, to ever be disappointed with a win," Foster said.Davenport, who came up just two points shy of tying a season high, led the Buckeyes in their first game back from an 11-day layoff after topping then-No. 3 Oklahoma on Dec. 20.Iowa had four players in double-figures, led by Smith with a career-high 21 points, seven assists, and five steals. Megan Skouby added a season-high 19."I feel like we could have beat a lot of teams tonight," Bluder said. "Ohio State wasn't one of them."
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