No. 7 OSU tops Illinois

By Derek Barichello

No. 7 Ohio State was too much for Illinois’ women’s basketball team in Columbus on Sunday, as the Buckeyes rolled to a 75-49 victory.

The Illini jumped out to an early 8-2 lead hitting four of their first five shots and collapsing inside on six-foot-five All-American and reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Lindsay Davenport.

Then the Buckeyes made adjustments; they switched their defense to a zone-four making it difficult for the Illini to penetrate the lane or get uncontested shots.

The Buckeyes also adjusted offensively, hitting more perimeter shots and opening up the inside game for Davenport.

The adjustments paid off, fueling a 22-6 run, featuring three Marscilla Packer three-pointers in a row and seven Davenport points. Ohio State led 34-20 at halftime

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“We were in the game,” head coach Theresa Grentz said. “We were doing what we needed to do, we were paying attention to the scouting report.”

The Buckeyes squashed any hopes of an Illini comeback, hitting six of their first seven shots in the second half and running out to a 50-26 lead at the 15:27 mark of the period. During that run, the Buckeyes hit four of five three-pointers while the Illini missed seven of their first ten shots.

Illinois fell behind by as much as 28 with 6:53 remaining in the game.

The Buckeyes hit 48 percent of their shots and 11 for 17 from downtown. Meanwhile, Illinois managed only 35.6 percent and was unable to get a three-point basket all night on nine attempts.

Senior guard Janelle Hughes led the Illini in scoring with 14 points and junior forward Erin Wigley added nine. Davenport had a game-high for the Buckeyes with 19.

The loss drops the Illini under .500 in the Big Ten at 4-5, 12-8 overall. The Buckeyes stay within a game of first place Purdue at 8-1 in the conference, 17-2 overall.

The Illini have lost four in a row on a difficult stretch of their schedule and it does not get any easier, as the Illini will return home to take on No. 14 Minnesota on Thursday, then No. 16 Michigan State on Feb. 5.

“There’s a lot of basketball left for us to play and as far as I’m concerned we can do this,” Grentz said. “I need to get this team motivated. It’s my job to teach them how they need to get things done.”