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BASKETBALL Ohio State holds off Hawkeyes



Published: Mon, February 14, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Jessica Davenport converted a key three-point play late to secure the win.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- No. 2 Ohio State had to battle to the end to beat Iowa and OSU coach Jim Foster was delighted.

Jessica Davenport scored 21 points and converted a key three-point play late in the game that enabled the Buckeyes to hold off Iowa 67-60 Sunday for their 13th consecutive victory.

"We needed to be in a game like this," Foster said. "We needed to have to fight and we needed to have to come from behind and up the level of execution.

"It was good for us to be in a game against a team that was clawing at us the way that Iowa was, on the floor with us after loose balls."

Ohio State (24-2, 11-1 Big Ten) used a 16-0 run to erase a 12-point Iowa lead in the first half, then went on a 13-2 second-half run to take the lead for good.

Caity Matter added 18 points for the Buckeyes, including a 3-pointer with just under 5 minutes remaining to break the final tie. It was Ohio State's closest game since a 52-50 victory against Rutgers on Jan. 16.

No panic

"There wasn't panic in anybody's eyes," Matter said. "We just knew we had to get the job done. We knew we had to get a stop and score and that's what we did."

Iowa (16-7, 5-7) led 53-47 when Krista VandeVenter scored on a putback with 11:47 remaining, then made only two baskets the remainder of the way. Jamie Cavey played Davenport to a standoff in the battle of post players and led Iowa with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

There was some consolation in coming close for the Hawkeyes, who had played poorly in losing to Wisconsin in their last home game.

"We at least competed," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "I told our team we played a team that's better than UConn, better than Tennessee, better than Duke and we came out and competed."

Beth Howe started Ohio State's decisive rally with a jumper and Davenport, who had been scoreless the first 13 minutes of the half, hit consecutive shots inside to tie it at 53. Then, with the score tied at 55, Iowa's Jenna Armstrong lost the ball driving into the lane and Kim Wilburn hit Matter for a wide open 3 on the right wing.

Tamarah Riley followed with a basket inside to complete the run, making it 60-55.

Coming up empty

Cavey's final basket cut the lead to three with 4 minutes to play, but the Hawkeyes came up empty on their next three possessions and the Buckeyes finally got the ball to Davenport on the low block.

Davenport, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, was fouled by Cavey as she hit a turnaround and sank the free throw, making it 63-57 with 1:15 remaining. Davenport said she knew she had to get involved again after her long scoreless stretch.

"I think it was a matter of me posting up harder and making myself available to my teammates," she said.

Brandie Hoskins added 14 points for Ohio State, while Wilburn finished with eight steals and six assists. Crystal Smith scored 12 for Iowa and Armstrong had 11.




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