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OHIO STATE BASKETBALL Davenport's 35 propels Buckeyes



Published: Fri, February 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



No. 14 Minnesota couldn't handle the Ohio State center.

COLUMBUS (AP) -- Jessica Davenport played as though she had a chip on her shoulder and her team on her back.

Davenport outdueled Janel McCarville in a battle of the Big Ten's best centers, scoring 35 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead No. 2 Ohio State to a 65-53 victory over No. 14 Minnesota on Thursday night.

"I'm excited to play against any post player," Davenport said, disregarding the emphasis put on the showdown. "My teammates found me in good spots against their one-on-one coverage. I didn't force anything."

Davenport was 15-of-19 from the field, 5-of-7 from the free-throw line and had three assists and five blocked shots.

"The difference in the game was Jessica Davenport," Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. "She had a heck of a game, didn't she? She's a much more mature player. She works hard to get position.

"She's big and she's wide and she played 40 minutes -- there's not a lot of big kids who have the stamina to play the entire game, and she's done it two games in a row."

14 straight wins

Brandie Hoskins scored nine points and had seven assists for the Buckeyes (25-2, 12-1 Big Ten), who have won 14 in a row.

McCarville had 22 points for the Golden Gophers (19-6, 9-4), and April Calhoun added 12.

"She's one of the best in the Big Ten," McCarville said of Davenport. "She's pretty hard to move. When she gets position on you, it's almost over."

Minnesota, which trailed 28-23 at the half, drew as close as 30-27 on McCarville's 3-pointer 21/2 minutes into the second half. But the Buckeyes then went on a 17-7 run, with Davenport scoring 10 points.

"We're an unselfish team," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "If you're going to give us Jessica in a one-on-one situation like they were, and she's having the kind of game she was having, we don't have a bunch of players who feel that they need to score."

Top Gopher benched

Just before Davenport's final basket in the streak, McCarville was called for her third foul while tipping an entry pass away from Davenport. She protested and was hit with a technical for her fourth foul. She spent the next 51/2 minutes on the bench before returning.

"It was nothing, really," McCarville said. "I hardly remember it. I tried to go for the ball and thought I got all ball."

Now trailing 47-34 and with their top player watching from the sideline, the Golden Gophers never got closer than seven points again.

"It's devastating to a team," Borton said. "You can't have your All-American on the bench during a stretch when you're down and trying to come back."

Ohio State, leading the nation in field-goal percentage at 51.7, shot 51 percent (25-of-49).

"I was happy with our defense all night," Foster said. "The perception is that because we're leading the nation in field-goal percentage, we're an offensive team. No. We're a defensive team."

McCarville scored six of the points in a 7-0 run to give Minnesota a 19-13 lead midway through the opening half, only to have Ohio State come back with a Davenport-powered 11-0 run.

"The big key was going into halftime they went on a 13-2 run," Borton said. "We missed enough layups that would have put us up four at halftime. When you're playing against a team like Ohio State that's No. 2 in the country and plays well at home, you can't shoot 34 percent and win the ball game."




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