OSU Women Win Shootout Against Iowa

Ohio State continued its push toward a possible second consecutive Big Ten championship with an 88-77 win over Iowa Sunday at Value City Arena.

It figured to be a high scoring game as No. 7 Ohio State hosted Iowa in Big Ten women's basketball action Sunday at Value City Arena.

And that's precisely what happened as the Buckeyes continued their path of destruction through the conference with an 88-77 win over the visiting Hawkeyes before 7,887 at VCA.

Ohio State (21-2, 11-1) won its 12th straight game since a 61-59 loss at No. 9 Purdue on Dec. 31. The win allowed OSU to remain tied with Purdue (20-3, 11-1) for the conference lead. (The Boilers crushed No. 10 Minnesota 63-31 on Sunday.)

The Buckeyes hit 65.4 percent of their shots (34 of 52) from the floor.

OSU led 42-39 at halftime, capping a first 20 minutes that saw the Buckeyes hit 70.8 percent (17 of 24) of its shots and the Hawkeyes make 57.7 percent (15 of 26) of theirs.

The game was knotted at 50-50 five minutes into the second half before OSU embarked on a 20-9 run to take control of the game.

"I think (the Buckeyes) fell into a mindset of thinking it would be easy, but we know that Iowa has a great offensive basketball team and that they would answer what we do," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said.

Jessica Davenport had 24 points and six rebounds for OSU. She was 9 of 11 from the floor.

"When it was tied, I knew we needed momentum and we really wanted to protect our home court," Davenport said.

Brandie Hoskins and Marscilla Packer each made 7 of 11 shots from the floor and finished with 18 points. Debbie Merrill contributed 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

"We see her like this everyday in practice," Foster said. "We want her more involved in the offense. When she is shooting it gives more opportunities to Brandie (Hoskins) and (Marscilla) Packer."

Crystal Smith led Iowa (14-9, 7-5) with 21 points, while Ohio native Megan Skouby had 18 points, Tiffany Reed scored 16 and Kristi Smith had 13.

"Usually when you shoot 56 percent (overall) and 53 percent from 3-point range and score 77 points, you win," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "But we didn't do well enough defensively at crucial times or rebound the ball as well as we needed to."

OSU is down to four games remaining in the Big Ten season. The Buckeyes visit Minnesota Thursday and host Michigan State next Monday. OSU and Purdue will be rematched Feb. 23 in Columbus. OSU ends the regular season at Penn State Feb. 26.

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