West Virginia came to St. John Arena ready to play, but the inside game of Ohio State that was the difference as the sixth-seeded Buckeyes topped the eleventh-seeded Mountaineers today, 73-67.
True freshman center Jessica Davenport led the way with 22 points on 10 of 11 shooting, while junior guard Caity Matter finished with 15 points including five key free throws down the stretch.
The Mountaineers jumped out to a 38-31 lead in the first half, but Ohio State came back to tie the game by halftime. The Buckeyes moved out to a seven point lead shortly after the half and never trailed again despite West Virginia keeping it close most of the way.
West Virginia, who had no player over 6-2, had no answer for the 6-5 Davenport and the OSU inside game as the Buckeyes outscored them 46-16 in the paint. Senior center Latoya Turner chipped in on the inside as well, notching 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Ohio State shot 25 of 50 for the game, while WVU shot just 23 of 62 (37.1 percent). The Mountaineers were led by Kate Bulger (sister of NFL QB Marc Bulger), who hit for 18 points.
Freshman Brandie Hoskins also chipped in 12 for the Buckeyes, and junior Michele Munoz returned from injury and saw her first time since Feb. 8 while senior Tanya McClure saw her first playing time this year after being plagued with injuries all season.
The Buckeyes will take on the No. 3 seed Boston College in round two on Monday. The Eagles struggled with 14-seed Eastern Michigan but came out with a 58-56 win.