OSU Women Drop Big Ten Semifinal

Brandie Hoskins tallied a career-high 23 points, but top-seeded Ohio State could not hold off fourth-seeded Minnesota. The Golden Gophers advanced to the championship game with a 66-63 overtime win over the Buckeyes.

Ohio State's bid for a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament probably took a big hit Sunday.

The top-seeded Buckeyes dropped a 66-63 overtime decision to fourth-seeded Minnesota in a Big Ten tournament semifinal gamme at Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse.

OSU (28-4) was ranked third nationally going into the tournament. Now the Buckeyes will have to wait until next Sunday to learn about their NCAA Tournament fate.

The Gophers (24-6) rallied late in regulation to force the overtime, then avenged a 12-point loss in Columbus in the teams' only regular season meeting.

Second-seeded Michigan State may have a better case for an NCAA No. 1 seed if it can win the Big Ten tournament Monday night. The Spartans defeated OSU 73-66 in the other Big Ten semifinal Sunday.

Minnesota closed to within two points three times in the final 10 minutes of play. The Buckeyes answered on two of the three occasions, pushing their lead back to six points at 47-41 with 9:03 on the clock and again at 54-48 with 3:37 to go after freshman Marscilla Packer knocked down a three-pointer and followed with a mid-range jumper.

The Golden Gophers finished regulation with an 8-2 run behind a pair of lay ups by Janell McCarville and a lay-in from Jamie Broback.

In overtime, the teams traded leads through the first minute and a half before Minnesota took command for good at 60-59 with 3:36 showing on the clock. The Gophers extended their lead to 64-59 after a Broback bucket and two made free throws from McCarville.

OSU guards Ashley Allen and Brandie Hoskins answered quickly, bringing Ohio State to within one as each tallied a basket to make the score 64-63 with 47 ticks left. However, a pair of made free throws from UM guard Kelly Roysland sealed the 66-63 win for the Gophers and a spot in the Big Ten tournament final Monday. Ohio State's Jessica Davenport had a shot to tie the game with two seconds left, but her three-point attempt caromed off the rim.

Hoskins scored 17 of her career-best 23 points in the second half, while Allen fueled the Buckeyes in the first stanza with 11 of her 13 points, including a 3-of-4 clip from behind the arc. Davenport totaled 12 points and 12 rebounds for her 12th double-double of the season.

She also cleared the 1,000-point career mark with a lay-in at the 3:24 mark of the first half. Davenport is the third Ohio State player to reach the milestone in her sophomore season, joining former All-Americans Katie Smith (1993-96) and Frani Washington (1978-80) as the only Buckeyes to complete the feat as sophomores. Overall, Davenport is the 24th Buckeye to reach 1,000 points for her career.

In the first half, the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers traded baskets to set the score at 9-8 through the first five minutes of play before Ohio State converted four consecutive Minnesota turnovers into a 9-0 run to jump ahead 18-8 at 12:23. Allen, a native of Indianapolis, recorded two of the steals and contributed a lay-in and a three-pointer to the run.

The Gophers answered with a 10-3 rally of their own to tie the game at 25-25 with 3:53 remaining in the half. Davenport halted the Minnesota run with a basket for points 1,000 and 1,001 and Allen sunk her third 3 of the half to set the Ohio State advantage at 30-27 heading to the break.

Ohio State relinquished the lead for the first time at 17:05 of the second half after a 3-point play by McCarville put the score at 34-33, but the Buckeyes held the Gophers to just two points for the next five minutes and reclaimed the lead at 42-36 after two baskets and a 3-point play by Hoskins to cap a 9-2 run.

After Minnesota closed to within two again at 42-40, Hoskins converted another 3-point play and freshman Alice Jamen followed with a layup to get back ahead, 47-41, at 9:03.

Notables

* Ohio State will await the possibility of an at-large selection to the 2005 NCAA Tournament. The tournament bracket will be announced at 5 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.

* At halftime, Ohio State was recognized for winning the 2005 Big Ten SuperFan Cup. Michelle Willis, a senior women's administrator for Ohio State, accepted the trophy at center court. Ohio State received the trophy after increasing g attendance at 2004-05 home games by 82 percent from the 2003-04 season.

* Ohio State is 15-11 all-time in Big Ten Tournament games and is 2-5 in semifinal games.

* The overtime game was the first for Ohio State under head coach Jim Foster. The last Ohio State overtime game was during the 2002 Big Ten Tournament when the Buckeyes beat Michigan State 89-82 in double overtime.

* Ohio State, who led 30-27 at halftime, dropped its first game of the season when leading at the break (26-1).

* Hoskins scored a career-high 23 points against Minnesota. Her previous personal-best was 22 against Penn on December 21, 2003.

* With the Minnesota win, the No. 4 seed improved to 4-1 against the No. 1 seed in the semifinals.


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