OSU Overcomes Sloppy Play To Beat Purdue
The fourth-ranked Ohio State women's basketball team had the look of a team that had a potentially lethal hangover -- and after Sunday's two-point loss at Michigan State that would be understandable.
The Buckeyes didn't hustle, made lazy passes and took ill-advised shots and generally stumbled around the Mackey Arena floor. It's a statement on what kind of season Purdue is having that it couldn't take advantage of the Buckeyes generosity.
OSU managed to overcome it's own self-inflicted foibles, hanging on for a 57-51 victory in West Lafayette, the first win at Mackey since the 1994 season.
The Buckeyes (26-3, 13-2) used another dominant performance from Jessica Davenport to gain the win. The sophomore center, fresh off the school's first-ever triple-double, tallied 21 points, eight rebounds and five blocks, and also dropped off a couple of nifty passes when the Boilermakers pushed her out of the paint.
"It wasn't pretty, but we got the win," Davenport said after the game. "We're just looking forward to defending our homecourt (Sunday against Penn State) and getting a piece of the Big Ten championship."
Davenport's bucket off a spin move, over Purdue's Emily Heikes, gave Ohio State a 53-47 lead with 1:40 to play, and just enough breathing room to get out of Mackey alive.
OSU watched as a 42-30 lead evaporated to 51-47 prior to Davenport's heroics. Purdue's Katie Gearlds kept her team within striking distance, at one juncture scoring nine straight points. But it was the penetration of guard Sharika Webb that kept Ohio State off balance defensively.
Webb continually drove the lane and drew defenders, allowing her to dish the ball or draw a foul. She hit all seven of her free throws and finished with nine points and hit a three point play that cut the lead to five with 2:18 to play.
Helping Davenport was Brandie Hoskins, who netted 14 points and handed out five assists. But she was harassed into an uncharacteristic six turnovers, just a handful of the season-high 21 the Buckeyes turned in.
"They're a hard team to play defensively because they're so long," OSU coach Jim Foster said. "They're awkward, from a sense that it's hard to do things against them because they're rangy and long.
"Our guards were in a little too much of a hurry for a good bit. When we slowed down and were able to find Jess, we did some good things. You take what you can get on the road in the Big Ten."
Caity Matter added 11 points for Ohio State, which shot 53.5 for the game. Purdue (15-11, 8-7) had its own troubles, turning the ball over 16 times and shooting just 30.9 percent.
Gearlds led the way with 16 points, 13 coming in the second half. Erin Lawless was strong all night and netted 13 points and seven rebounds.
The Buckeyes take on Penn State at 6 p.m. Sunday in Columbus, and only about 1,500 tickets remain for the contest.
If Ohio State wins, it will share the league championship with Michigan State but will get the top seed in the Big Ten tournament because of tiebreakers. If OSU loses, Penn State would win the league and get the top seed.