March 3, 2006
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Even without the Big Ten's leading scorer and player of the year, Ohio State was too dominant for Penn State.
Brandie Hoskins scored 14 points to lead the fifth-ranked Buckeyes to a 64-46 win Friday in the conference tournament quarterfinals, a thrashing so complete that Ohio State coach Jim Foster rested Jessica Davenport for most of the game.
"I didn't feel the need or the urge," he said about playing the 6-foot-5 Davenport after she picked up her second foul in the opening period. "If a player gets two fouls, she sits.
"And then in the second half, we were still scoring from that position," Foster said. "We're very capable of doing that."
The top-seeded Buckeyes won their 17th straight game, while the Lady Lions' had their first losing season in 33 years.
Ohio State (26-2), seeking its first conference tourney championship, will play defending champion Michigan State in the semifinals on Sunday. Penn State, a two-time tournament winner, finished 13-16 for its worst record since 1973.
The game was Ohio State's first since eking out a 61-59 win at Penn State in the regular-season finale.
"After we played them there, we knew we didn't play well," Hoskins said. "Then watching the film, we knew we played horrible."
The rematch was no contest.
The Buckeyes so dominated the Lady Lions from the start that leading scorer Davenport, the two-time conference player of the year, was on the floor only 9 minutes in the first half and 10 minutes in the second period."It's different playing without Jess," said Debbie Merrill, who added 11 points for the Buckeyes. "Everybody else has to step up."
Marscilla Packer added 10 for the Buckeyes. Davenport, constantly double-teamed, made only 2-of-6 shots and had a season-low six points and five rebounds.
"We let some things get away from us. We didn't take advantage of that," Penn State coach Rene Portland said of Davenport's absence. "We tried to get some penetration and didn't succeed."
Penn State was led by Kamela Gissendanner with 15 points and Amanda Brown with 10.
Davenport had two baskets and Packer had two 3-pointers in a 16-5 start for the Buckeyes. But with Davenport on the bench most of the period, Hoskins took over, scoring 10 of her 14 points before the break.
Penn State pulled to 22-17 on a basket by Brown, but the Lady Lions, who had 15 turnovers in the first half and 21 for the game, didn't score the rest of the period. A basket and a 3-pointer by reserve Stephanie Blanton, a 3-pointer by Merrill and another basket by reserve Alice Jamen completed a 10-0 Ohio State run for a 32-17 lead at halftime.
Hoskins, who averages 12 points, reached that with her first basket of the second half, starting another 10-0 burst that pushed the Buckeyes' lead to 44-21. Ohio State's biggest lead was 59-33 with about 4 minutes left, and the Lions never came closer than 16 the rest of the way.
"Our energy was not the same," Portland said. "Ohio State pressured us defensively and made it difficult for us. Our offense never got going."