Pulled from starting lineup, Packer helps Ohio State run away

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Marscilla Packer isn't used to being a reserve. But the senior guard was a big reason Ohio State (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) pulled away in the second half for a 76-62 win over Minnesota on Sunday.

Packer, the second leading scorer for the Buckeyes at 14.8 points per game, didn't start for the first time this season and for only the second time in the past 54 games. But she still scored 16 points in 27 minutes -- 14 in the second half as the Buckeyes (17-5, 8-3) increased their 32-27 halftime lead.

Packer made three consecutive 3-pointers and a field goal in the lane over a 3-minute stretch to put the Buckeyes ahead 54-43 with 12:09 remaining. The Gophers (15-8, 6-5) couldn't get closer than 10 the rest of the way.

"I just wanted to get in and get moving," Packer said. "It was hard warming up then sitting for a while."

The last time Packer was on the bench at tip-off was March 4 against Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament, when she suffered from an ankle sprain.

Packer wasn't in the starting lineup against the Gophers (15-8, 6-5 Big Ten) because of a "team decision," said Ohio State coach Jim Foster. He wouldn't elaborate.

Ashlee Trebilcock scored a a game-high 19 points, 13 of which came in the second half.

"Ashlee and Marscilla played extremely well," Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. "They outplayed us on both ends of the floor. They were the difference makers in the game."

Ohio State also got 12 points from Jantel Lavender and Tamarah Riley had 11.

Leslie Knight had 16 points for the Gophers, 17 less than she had in a 79-70 win over the Buckeyes on Jan. 24. Zoe Harper added 13 points and 10 rebounds but the team's leading scorer, Emily Fox, with 16.9 points per game, was held to six points on 2-for-13 shooting.

Minnesota held a 41-25 advantage in rebounds but that was little consolation to Borton.

"They had 29 points off turnovers and 38 in the paint," she said. "We did a very poor job of taking care of the basketball."

The Gophers haven't won in 23 tries in Columbus and trail the series 46-9.