Brittany Johnson powers Buckeyes past Hawkeyes

INDIANAPOLIS -- Brittany Johnson loves shooting 3-pointers against Iowa.

Johnson tied career highs with 23 points and seven 3s to help Ohio State defeat the Hawkeyes (No. 24 AP) 71-61 in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals Friday night.

Johnson made five 3s in the previous meeting between the teams, an 81-67 win for Ohio State.

"I was just, you know, in the zone, I guess," Johnson said. "I was focusing really hard. My teammates had confidence in me."

Johnson was a focus of Iowa's defense, but she got her shots anyway.

"She is a very, very good set shooter, and you have got to know where she is all the time," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "She had some really good open looks, and Ohio State does such a great job of finding her."

Jantel Lavender had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Buckeyes (20-9), who won their seventh straight and advanced to play No. 1 seed Michigan State on Saturday in a semifinal. Penn State, the No. 2 seed, will play No. 11 seed Illinois in the other semifinal.

Jaime Printy led Iowa with 19 points and Morgan Johnson added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Hawkeyes (22-8). Iowa, which had won five consecutive games, shot just 33 percent.

Johnson helped the Buckeyes break away from a 27-all halftime tie. She scored 17 points after the break, and the Buckeyes shot 54 percent in the second half.

"In the first half I thought we stood still and forced; second half, I thought we moved and took care of our business," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said.

Ohio State defeated Iowa 66-64 in the final last year.

Lavender was held to four points in the first half, but she scored two quick buckets to start the second half to help the Buckeyes take a 35-29 lead and force Iowa to call a timeout.

A 3-pointer and an off-balance bank shot by Tayler Hill gave Ohio State a 40-30 lead.

Iowa trimmed the lead to 46-40 on a 3-pointer by Kelsey Cermak, but Johnson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Buckeyes ahead 52-40.

Just as Ohio State looked poised to run away with the game, Iowa's Kachine Alexander made free throws, and then Printy got a steal, made a layup and was fouled. She converted a three-point play to cut Ohio State's lead to 52-47.

The Hawkeyes cut Ohio State's lead to 52-51 during an 11-0 run. Iowa held Ohio State scoreless for more than five minutes to close the gap.

Another 3-pointer by Johnson pushed Ohio State's lead back up to 59-54.

Kamille Wahlin made a 3-pointer for Iowa to trim Ohio State's lead to 63-61, but Johnson came back with her seventh 3 of the game with 1:15 remaining.

"We played together," Johnson said. "We played hard. We didn't let up. And we just wanted to win really bad, so we did whatever it took."