7:00 PM ET, March 5, 2007
INDIANAPOLIS -- Purdue was tired of hearing about Ohio State's invincibility.So the Boilermakers put that notion to rest with one resounding flurry.With a fast start, relentless defense and big nights from Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton and Katie Gearlds, Purdue (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP) overwhelmed the weary Buckeyes 64-52 in the Big Ten tournament title game Monday night."They were favored and they beat us at home, and that hurt," said Wisdom-Hylton, who had 21 points and 13 rebounds. "We used that as motivation to come out and be aggressive and be strong."Most figured this would be another coronation for Ohio State (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today; No. 5 AP), which dominated the league the last three seasons, winning all of the regular season titles and the coach and player of the year awards.The Buckeyes (28-3) had a near-flawless resume, entering with 21 wins in 22 games, 34 wins in its last 35 Big Ten games and on pace to set a tourney record for shooting percentage.Instead, Ohio State shot only 40.4 percent from the field and barely avoided its lowest point total of the season after scoring 51 points in a loss at LSU on Dec. 10.With all-conference guard Brandie Hoskins out because of a torn Achilles' tendon, starting guard Marscilla Packer playing on a sprained left ankle and their teammates coming off an overtime victory over Penn State, the Buckeyes lacked energy.Big Ten player of the year Jessica Davenport lumbered down the court, and Ohio State missed its first 13 shots. Davenport was the only Ohio State player to score in double figures, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds.The result: Purdue led 21-0 and never lost control against a team still fighting for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament, when the field is set next week."They were on fire in the beginning, and we couldn't throw a rock in the ocean," Davenport said. "That big lead they got, really hurt us."Wisdom-Hylton and Gearlds never gave them a chance to recover.With Wisdom-Hylton providing the inside presence the Boilermakers (28-5) needed to nullify Davenport and Star Allen, and senior guard Katie Gearlds delivering outside shots for Purdue, the Buckeyes never seriously challenged."Absolutely, we wrote it up just like that," first-year Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said, joking about the fast start.Gearlds had 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists and earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award in the last college game in her home state.It was good enough to snap a four-game losing streak against the Buckeyes and give Purdue its first conference title -- regular season or tournament -- since Gearlds' freshman season in 2004.Purdue earned the Big Ten's automatic NCAA bid and captured a sixth Big Ten tournament title to extend its own record.And they made this one look easy.As Ohio State struggled, Wisdom-Hylton and Gearlds combined for 17 of the first 23 points to give Purdue a 23-2 lead midway through the first half."I thought when it was 10-0, 'That's pretty good,' " Versyp said. "I thought it would start going back-and-forth, and then we just kept rolling and rolling."The Buckeyes finally steadied themselves with two straight baskets from Davenport during a 12-2 run that got them within 25-12 with 5:19 left, and Ohio State closed the half on an 8-2 spurt to close to 31-20.But just as the Buckeyes appeared to get back in the game early in the second half, they again wore down. Wisdom-Hylton and Gearlds ignited a 7-0 spurt that pushed the lead to 47-29, and Ohio State only got as close as 11 the rest of the way."We talked at halftime about the same thing, coming out and really dominating the first four or five minutes, like we did in the first half," Gearlds said. "We knew we just had to maintain our momentum and keep attacking offensively."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||25-56 (.446)||21-52 (.404)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-12 (.333)||2-11 (.182)|
|FT Made-Attempted||10-11 (.909)||8-12 (.667)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||12 (0/0)||15 (0/0)|