Davenport, No. 8 Ohio State rip Northwestern

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State switched defenses -- and also switched the momentum.

In the middle of a tight game midway through the opening half, the sixth-ranked Buckeyes changed to a 2-3 zone that allowed them to roll over Northwestern 70-42 Sunday.

Jessica Davenport inched closer to another milestone with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Star Allen added 18 points for the Buckeyes (15-1, 4-0), who matched the school mark for best record through 16 games.

The Buckeyes were down 11-8 early when coach Jim Foster used a media timeout to go to a trapping zone defense.

"I'm a firm believer you can't play zones until you're grounded fundamentally in the man-to-man," Foster said. "With five new freshmen and (transfer) Ashley (Trebilcock), it took a while to start to become grounded in those principles. Today was really the first day this year that we've done that. The last two games we've played zone entirely, but we'd much rather change our look."

The move changed their look -- and the game.

"We actually did a good job of finding the open players and open shots but we weren't able to make them," Northwestern coach Beth Combs said. "They force you to do that. They've got a presence inside that makes you think twice about your shot every time you catch the ball in the paint."

That force is Davenport, a two-time All-American and conference player of the year. The 6-foot-5 center needs 21 points to become the 11th Big Ten player to score 2,000 career points.

Davenport said it makes it easier on her the more she can involve her teammates. She had four assists.

"Everybody got a chance to shoot the ball today," she said. "The ball was moving (around) pretty well. So when everybody's on top of their game and hitting shots, it's kind of hard to just concentrate on one player."

Allen hit 8 of 11 shots from the field.

"Against their zone I had open shots so I just took the shots that were given to me," she said.

Julie Bielawski had 11 points and Sara Stutz 10 for the Wildcats (6-12, 0-5), who were coming off a last-second 65-63 home loss to Minnesota on Thursday.

Several streaks were extended. Northwestern has lost its last 10 Big Ten games, its last 11 games overall this season and its last 12 meetings against the Buckeyes. Ohio State has won its last 21 games against Big Ten teams while running its overall winning streak to eight in a row since falling 75-71 at No. 9 LSU on Dec. 10.

The Wildcats played well in the early going, taking an 11-6 lead behind Stutz's five points. The Buckeyes pulled away by reeling off 16 of the final 20 points in the half.

"We came out in the right frame of mind, that first 12 minutes," Combs said. "And then we fell back on our heels."

Allen got the surge started with a short jumper off an assist from Davenport to spur Ohio State to points on eight of its next 10 possessions. Northwestern went scoreless over the final 3:19, missing its last seven shots from the field to fall behind 39-23 at the break.

Foster credited Davenport and Allen for getting the Buckeyes moving -- and putting the Wildcats on the run.

"Our post players can really run," he said. "That puts a lot of strain on the other team, especially when the players off our bench can run as fast, arguably, if not faster."

Allen had 12 points at the half, and Davenport had 10 to go with eight rebounds and three assists.

"We think Star's very talented," Foster said. "She's a very, very bright kid, and then her concentration wanes. When she gets that to the (right) level, I think she could be scary good."

Davenport hit two baskets in the opening minutes of the second half as Ohio State built the lead to 45-27 before substituting freely and expanding the lead.