OSU breaks through to Sweet 16
There's a common thought that as goes Jessica Davenport, so goes the Ohio State women's basketball team.
Ask Maryland whether or not it feels that's true.
After keeping Davenport largely in check -- if 14 points and nine rebounds qualifies as in check -- Maryland found itself staring at a determined Brandie Hoskins, who took over and often made spectacular plays, carrying the second-seeded Buckeyes to a 75-65 win over the seventh-seeded Terrapins Tuesday night at the Comcast Center.
Hoskins used an array of spin moves, crossovers and hesitations on the way to scoring 22 points. But she also came up big on the glass, corraling six boards, and handed out five timely assists.
Also coming up big for the Buckeyes were senior guard Caity Matter, who netted 16 points, and sophomore forward Stephanie Blanton, whose 12 points were, according to Maryland coach Brenda Frese, "the difference in the game."
That trio more than offset Davenport's subpar outing.
"We had a lot of people filling the void," OSU coach Jim Foster said.
Hoskins shrugged off the kudos, preferring to spread the praise around.
"They were sagging in on Jess and that left some things open," Hoskins said. "My teammates were making good passes to me. All I had to do was finish.
"The good thing about us is that we moved the ball tonight. Everybody played really well together."
OSU dished out assists on 22 of its 30 hoops. The Buckeyes shot 51.7 percent while holding the Terps to 40.3 percent.
The game was a seesaw affair in the first half as neither team held a lead of more than six points.
Trailing by one as the clock was winding down, OSU got a huge three-pointer from Ashley Allen to lead 35-34 at the break. Allen ran the show masterfully, handing out eight assists, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds.
Ohio State (30-4) led 53-50 with 11:23 left in the game before pushing it out to 62-53 thanks to five points from Allen, including a deep three as the shot clock was nearly expired. OSU scored seven of the next 12, including five from Matter, to lead 69-58 and was never again threatened.
"I have a lot of respect for Ohio State," Frese said. "They were able to handle everything we threw at them. With the talent they have, they just did a better job of finishing strong and pushing through when they needed to."
Maryland (22-10) was led by fabulous freshman Crystal Langhorne, who posted her 11th double-double of the season with 22 points and 16 rebounds. She showed great tenacity on the boards and the ability to score with either hand, so Maryland looks like it could be a player on the national scene for quite some time.
Kalika France and Ashleigh Newman each chipped in a dozen points for the Terps, but leading scorer Shay Doron was pestered into a miserable three-for-15 outing, scoring just nine points.
Foster spoke to his team shortly after its loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament and reminded them that they weren't physical enough to come out with the victory.
He didn't have to remind them on this night.
"This was a significant win for us because we learned a lesson and benefited from it," Foster said. "We won a basketball game and got a little bit better. It was just a tough, physical basketball game, and we came out better this time than we did last time we had a physical basketball game."
The Buckeyes will now head to Philadelphia to take on Rutgers on March 27. The No. 3 seed Scarlet Knights knocked off Temple 61-54 and will no doubt be looking to reverse the outcome of a 52-50 loss to Ohio State suffered in Columbus in early January.
The game time has yet to be determined, though it will be at either noon or 2:30 p.m.