COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State's Marscilla Packer decided to bypass a 3-point shot for a safer jumper at the free-throw line.
Packer's jumper with 16 seconds left lifted Ohio State (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) past Kentucky 53-51 on Saturday. She finished 4-for-10 from the field, making the one that counted by dribbling the ball inside the arc."She is one of those shooters that knows the shot will fall. If she has a couple of poor shooting games, she just sticks with it," Buckeyes coach Jim Foster said.Kentucky's Samantha Mahoney put up a shot under the basket with 1 second left that was deflected by Buckeyes' center Jessica Davenport and sailed over the rim.The Wildcats (12-4), who shot 18 percent from the field in the first half, outscored the Buckeyes 36-29 in the second period. Sarah Elliot had 18 points and Mahoney added 12.Coach Mickie DeMoss said she was proud of the way her team fought. The loss snapped Kentucky's eight-game winning streak."We could have dropped our heads in the first half and that says a lot for our program," DeMoss said. "We fought extremely hard and can build on it."Davenport led Ohio State (13-1) in scoring with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Brandie Hoskins added 15 points, and Packer had eight.The Buckeyes have won six straight.Both teams got off to a slow start. With Kentucky shooting poorly and committing nine turnovers in the first half, Ohio State built a 24-15 lead at the break.Jenn'e Jackson's layup with 4:32 left pulled Kentucky within 49-47.But a layup by Davenport, who accounted for all of Ohio State's 10 points from 12:57 to 3:33, put the Buckeyes back up 51-47. Kentucky tied it on jumpers from Mahoney and Elliott, setting up Packer's game-winning shot.Ohio State guard Brandie Hoskins said she never doubted Packer."It was crazy because it was just how we do it in practice," Hoskins said. "So we were all really relaxed, and when I saw how good her follow through was, I knew it was good."The Buckeyes shot 46 percent for the game. The Wildcats have held nine straight opponents to 55 points or less.