Tayler Hill had 25 points to lead the Buckeyes.
March 7, 2013
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - Tayler Hill scored a game-high 25 points and No. 9 seed Ohio State put the clamps on No. 8 Minnesota defensively in the second half in a 58-47 win over the Gophers Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at the Sears Centre.
The Buckeyes move on to Friday's quarterfinal round where they will face No. 1 seed Penn State at 7 p.m. ET on BTN. The win also avenges two previous losses to the Gophers this season.
Ashley Adams had 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots for the Buckeyes while Raven Ferguson had eight points and seven rebounds and Ameryst Alston 10 rebounds, four assists and five points.
Trailing 25-16 with 4:07 left in the first half, the Buckeyes regrouped and ran off a 27-4 run that extended into the second half to put Ohio State out in front, 43-29, at the midway point of the second half. A three-pointer by Ferguson and a layup by Amber Stokes gave Ohio State its biggest lead at 10:36 mark.
"I didn't think we started the game playing smart, and I thought about 15 minutes into the first half, we had a timeout and we just went over some things," head coach Jim Foster said. "I think we then went on a 27-4 run between that half and the next half. We stayed focused on what our plan was and didn't deviate from it."
Ohio State held Minnesota to 29 percent shooting in the second half and forcing 16 turnovers overall. Minnesota's Rachel Banham, who burned the Buckeyes for 14 points in the first 20 minutes, was held in check by Hill, Alston and Ferguson in the second half, as she scored just six points on 2 of 9 shooting. The Gophers were 9 of 31 overall from the field in the second half and committed 10 turnovers.
"Defense was a starting point for us," Hill said. "We knew that we had to hard switch Rachel Banham because any inch we gave her, she's a good enough shooter to knock that down. So defense is where we wanted to start. We wanted to pressure, we wanted to trap and scramble. So I think the last five, four minutes of the first half we started to do a pretty good job. In the second half, we came out and did an even better job."
Hill, who also had four assists and hit 11 of 14 from the free throw line, is now eight points shy of 2,000 for her career (1,992). Only four other Buckeyes have reached that milestone.
Ferguson would leave the game in the second half with what appeared to be an ankle sprain, but returned to the court a few minutes later to help finish off the win.
Minnesota controlled much of the first half on the strength of four Banham three-pointers. But Ohio State closed out the first half on an 8-0 run and trailed by just a point at the half, 25-24, behind 10 first-half points from Hill.