Tayler Hill scored a game-high 23 points for the Buckeyes.
March 18, 2012
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP)- Jennifer George had 16 points and six rebounds to lead ninth-seeded Florida to a 70-65 win over eighth-seeded Ohio State in the Des Moines Regional on Sunday.
The Gators (20-12) scored the game's first nine points and held on in front of a crowd packed with fans of the in-state Buckeyes (25-7).
Tayler Hill scored 23 points for Ohio State, including two late baskets to pull the Buckeyes within two. Florida patiently worked the ball inside to George, who went up strong with her left hand and scored with 45 seconds to play. Emilee Harmon missed at the other end for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State star Samantha Prahalis went scoreless in the second half and finished with nine points. She did, however, become just the second player in Division I history to record at least 2,000 career points and 900 assists.
Ohio State made runs to cut the lead to 4, 3 and 2 late in the game. But everytime the Buckeyes made a run, Florida answered with either a three-pointer or a basket coming out of a timeout. Florida made nine 3-pointers on the day.
Ohio State was playing in its 10th consecutive NCAA tournament, but this was the Buckeyes' worst seed in that span. They made no secret of their displeasure with the draw but did little to show they deserved any better.
Seconds after the opening tip, Hill turned the ball over against a Florida trap, leading to an easy layup for Jaterra Bonds. The Gators led 7-0 before the Buckeyes even got a shot off, and it was 12-2 following a 3-pointer by Jones.
"It started with my turnover at the beginning of the game," Hill said. "We came to play. I mean, we got the cards dealt. We were ready to play. It had nothing to do with our mindset because we had an eight seed."
Florida led 39-31 at the half and had an answer every time the Buckeyes began to assert themselves. Ohio State scored the first two baskets of the second half, but the Gators regrouped and went ahead 44-35 on a 3-pointer by Bartley.
With the score 44-40, Bartley took the ball from Amber Stokes after the Ohio State guard had come up with a defensive rebound. Bartley's layup made it a six-point game.
After a mini-run by the Buckeyes made it 52-48, Ndidi Madu's 3-pointer started a 7-1 Florida run that pushed the lead to double digits.
The Gators were making their first appearance in the tournament since 2009 but had three senior starters plus George, a 6-foot junior. They remained calm at the end after the Buckeyes cut the lead to two.
Smith Named to WNBA 20 Greatest Players