2:00 PM ET, January 21, 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Jessica Davenport barely heard the 20-second standing ovation and hardly acknowledged another personal milestone.Davenport, a two-time All-American and Big Ten player of the year, scored 22 points and reached 2,000 for her career to lead Ohio State (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) past Illinois 62-52 on Sunday."It was a nice accomplishment," she said of the crowd's response to her first-half basket that put her over 2,000 points. "But right now, it's not my focus how many points I score. As long as we're winning games, that's pretty much my focus right now."Thanks to Davenport, the Buckeyes (17-1, 6-0 Big Ten) matched the school record for best start with the victory.Davenport, the conference's leading scorer, shot 5-of-10 from the field and was 12-of-14 from the free-throw line. She also had nine rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists.Most of her offense came when it was needed most by the Buckeyes. Her points always seemed to stem any Illinois spurt."She got a little more aggressive," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "She had been posting too low and she got into a better position. She made some good moves and was able to go to the foul line as a result of that."Davenport became the second Ohio State player and 11th in the Big Ten to score 2,000 career points when she made a short shot off a baseline feed from Brandie Hoskins at the 2:12 mark of the first half."I started clapping, too," Hoskins said. "That's really a good accomplishment. She deserves all the little things that she gets because she works so hard. She's a humble person and a good teammate."Star Allen added 11 points and Hoskins and Marscilla Packer had 10 apiece for the Buckeyes, who equaled the start of the 1973-74 team. Ohio State can top that when it hosts Indiana on Thursday.Danyel Crutcher and Jenna Smith each scored 12 points and Lori Bjork 11 for the Illini (14-5, 4-3). They were playing their first ranked opponent after having beaten at least one Top 25 team in each of the last 12 seasons."I don't know that anything really gave us problems other than ourselves," said Illini coach Theresa Grentz, whose team shot a season-worst 30 percent from the field.She said her team had plenty of chances to slice the Ohio State lead, but frittered away its chances because of its own inefficiency against the Buckeyes' zone defense.The Buckeyes led 45-29 after Hoskins' medium-range jumper at the 13:12 mark of the second half, then both teams traded baskets and turnovers the rest of the way. Neither coach was thrilled with how their team played offensively down the stretch."We had our possessions -- I think there were about four of them I could count," Grentz said. "We walked (with the ball). I can still see them. If you make those buckets or get to the free-throw line, you create a situation."Foster said the Buckeyes became cautious and allowed the Illini to set the tempo."We pushed the ball a lot in the first half and walked it up (the floor) in the second," Foster said. "We got lulled into their style of play."The Illini drew to 50-41 on Crutcher's shot in the lane with 4 minutes left before Davenport hit a bank shot and two free throws. The lead was still nine in the final minute when Davenport took a long pass from Hoskins and was fouled, hitting both foul shots."She had two key buckets from the left low block," Grentz said. "We were defending her like we wanted, one on one."The Buckeyes have won 24 in a row at home, 10 in a row overall since a 75-51 loss at No. 9 LSU on Dec. 10, and have beaten their last 23 Big Ten opponents.The 6-0 Big Ten start is Ohio State's best since going 13-0 in 1986-87.Foster praised his defense for shutting down the Illinois offense and said he hoped his team learned from its passive play in the second half."We know what we did: We walked and we should've run," he said.
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