Jan. 26, 2006
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - There's no disputing who's the center of attention for No. 7 Ohio State.
Jessica Davenport had 19 points and 14 rebounds and became Ohio State's career leader in blocked shots, leading the seventh-ranked Buckeyes to a 73-46 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday night.
"I think she's the best post player in the country," Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said. "People want to call her an intimidator, but she intimidates with her numbers. As a person, she lets the game come to her. I can't say enough about her."
The victory was the seventh in a row for Ohio State (16-2, 7-1 Big Ten), which entered the game second in the nation in points allowed per game (51.2). The Buckeyes forced 15 turnovers, had 10 steals, blocked seven shots and limited the Badgers (7-13, 1-7) to just 29 percent shooting from the field.
"Statistically, the game was pretty even, except for our shooting percentage," Stone said. "Jess had a lot to do with that. She's long and you have to shoot over her."
Debbie Merrill added 16 points. All 12 players scored for Ohio State, which was coming off a dramatic 67-65 victory at No. 12 Michigan State on Sunday. Marscilla Packer tossed a long pass that Davenport caught and shot in one motion to provide the winning basket at the buzzer. "It's a luxury," Buckeyes coach Jim Foster said of the chance to clear his bench. "We have 12 pretty good basketball players. People have to sacrifice."
Ashley Allen had a typical line for Ohio State. She scored just four points but had six assists and five steals.
"We just knew we had to play good defense," she said. "Defense turns into offense."
Davenport, the Big Ten's player of the week the past two weeks, had two assists and four blocks. She started the day tops in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage (.632), rebounding (9.4) and blocked shots (2.59) and tied for the lead in scoring (18.9).
"Jess and I did pretty well," Merrill said. "Their defense was extended so the paint was wide open."
Jolene Anderson had 12 points for the Badgers, who have lost six of seven overall and four in a row in the conference.
The Buckeyes took command early and then pulled away, going up 34-22 despite a listless first half.
Wisconsin's Ashley Josephson hit her second 3-pointer of the half to tie it at 10 early. Ohio State responded with an 11-2 run, with Davenport scoring the final five points. Both of her baskets came off lob passes from Packer, who matched her career high with five assists in the first 20 minutes. She finished with six assists.
"I'd like to see that every game," Foster said of the Buckeyes' workmanlike approach. "I thought we executed well, took care of the ball and went after it on defense. We really played hard on the defensive end."
Davenport became Ohio State's career leader in blocked shots when she got a piece of Shari' Welton's baseline drive at the 4:30 mark of the opening half. The 6-foot-5 junior moved past Mary Sivak with her 242nd block.
"It was not a personal goal, as far as focusing on it. It was not something I was even aware of," she said. "But it's something I've been doing since my freshman year - trying to block shots."
The Badgers' second-leading scorer, Janese Banks, who had missed five games with an injury to her left foot, scored two points in 18 minutes.
The Buckeyes ran off 12 of the first 14 points in the second half and led by as many as 27 near the finish.
"That's a great basketball team," Stone said. "They're spectacular. They're senior-laden, well-coached - a very, very powerful team."
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