Judgment Week For OSU Women's Basketball

OSU women's basketball coach Jim Foster is standing with 599 wins as his team hosts No. 14 Michigan State Monday night (7:30 p.m., ESPN2) at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes need two wins in their final three games to clinch at least a tie for a second straight Big Ten championship.

ESPN's big theme of for this week is Judgment Week.

That would certainly apply for Ohio State's women's basketball team.

But the Buckeyes, ranked seventh nationally, are probably hoping that Judgment Week becomes Championship Week.

Ohio State (22-2, 12-1) got some big-time help with its quest for a second consecutive Big Ten championship on Sunday. Indiana upset No. 10 Purdue 63-61 in overtime, dropping the Boilers (21-4, 12-2) out of a first-place tie with the Buckeyes.

OSU can clinch at least a share of the Big Ten title if it can negotiate home wins over No. 14 Michigan State (20-7, 10-4) on Monday and Purdue on Thursday. The Buckeyes will then wrap the regular season at Penn State (11-14, 5-9) on Sunday.

The Buckeyes need two wins in the last three games to assure itself of at least a tie. OSU would also end up with at least a tie for the title with just a single win over Purdue.

Ohio State hosts MSU at 7:30 p.m. Monday. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN2 as part of the Big Monday series.

The Buckeyes won the first meeting at MSU 67-65 on Jan. 22. Ohio State erased an early 13-point deficit and lost a 10-point lead of its own the final moments. With the score tied at 65 with three seconds to go, Ohio State's Ashley Allen heaved an inbound pass to Marscilla Packer at halfcourt and, after taking one dribble, Packer directed a lob to Davenport near the rim, where the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year converted the lay-in as the buzzer sounded.

Davenport tallied 22 of her 31 points in the second half, including the buzzer-beater. She made 11-of-12 field goal attempts in the second half and pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds as the Buckeyes shot 62 percent (15 of 24) in the final stanza.

The Purdue game on Thursday figured to be a coronation for the winner, but Purdue's loss to Indiana has provided OSU some wiggle room in its quest for another conference title.

Purdue won the first meeting with Ohio State, 61-59, on Jan. 1 in West Lafayette. Packer led the Buckeyes with a career-best 19 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. Davenport recorded her 24th career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Thursday's rematch will tip off at 8 p.m. and will be televised by Comcast Sports Net Chicago. (Time Warner cable in Columbus will show the game on Ch. 24.)

Ohio State has clinched no worse than the three seed for the Big Ten tournament, set for March 2-6 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Davenport leads OSU at 19.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Brandie Hoskins adds 12.0 points and 3.3 assists per game, while Packer is now the team's third-leading scorer at 11.2 points per game.

OSU is coming off a 76-55 win Thursday at Minnesota. In that game, Packer had a career-high 32 points. She connected on 12-of-15 field goal attempts, including an 8-for-10 mark from three-point territory. Packer's eight three-point goals matched the Ohio State single-game individual record held by former Buckeye Caity Matter.

In her last three games vs. Michigan (Feb. 10), Iowa (12) and Minnesota (Feb. 16), Packer is 15-for-21 (.714) from three-point territory.

With the win Thursday at Minnesota, Ohio State head coach Jim Foster now has an overall record of 599-252 in 28 seasons as a Division I head coach at St. Joseph's (248-126, 1978-91), Vanderbilt (256-99, 1991-2002) and Ohio State (93-27, 2002-).

With one more win this season, Foster would become the third current coach in the Big Ten to possess 600 career victories. He would join Illinois' Theresa Grentz (648-296, 32 seasons) and Penn State's Rene Portland (676-246, 31 seasons). Nationally, Foster would become the 12th active coach with 600 career wins.

It will be interesting to see if the attendance for either the MSU or Purdue games approaches the season high of 11,622 set Jan. 29 against Illinois. Ohio State's top attendance mark of 17,525 was set last season against Penn State on Feb. 27, 2005, when the Buckeyes defeated Penn State, 69-58 to gain a share of the Big Ten title.

Tickets remain for both of OSU's remaining home games. They are priced at $11.50 (lower level) and $6.50 (Terrace level).

Tickets are available by calling (800) GO-BUCKS, going to the Schottenstein Center box office or by clicking on the link below.

OSU's Online Ticket Office

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