Top-seeded Ohio State served notice on the Big Ten Friday, rolling to an easy 70-46 win over eighth-seeded Wisconsin in a quarterfinal round match-up at the conference tournament at Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse.
“I don’t think we peaked at all,” OSU senior guard Caity Matter said. “This is the postseason and this is what you play for. We’re playing for another championship. The tournament has started and we’ll take it game by game and be ready on Sunday.”
OSU, now 28-3 and ranked third nationally, will play fourth-seeded Minnesota (23-6) at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the semifinals.
Jessica Davenport, the Big Ten player of the year, led OSU with 18 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. She was 8 of 12 from the floor.
“It was just a matter of us taking our time and just moving the ball,” Davenport said. “In my part, I had to get deeper position and just try to be a big target for my teammates.”
Brandie Hoskins added 14 points and eight assists, while Matter had 12 points and Indianapolis native Ashley Allen tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds.
OSU shot 51 percent (29 of 57) from the floor and held Wisconsin to just 30 percent shooting (17 of 57). The Badgers went 11-1/2 minutes without a field goal in the second half, allowing the Buckeyes to pull away.
Janese Banks led Wisconsin (12-16) with 16 points.
Davenport had six points and Hoskins tallied four during an early 14-0 run that helped the Buckeyes extend their lead to 21-5 with 9:44 left in the first half. Kim Wilburn’s layup with four seconds left staked OSU to a 35-23 halftime advantage.
Wisconsin got the lead down to 40-32 after Banks made a pair of free throws with 17:22 left. But OSU then held UW without a field goal for 11:37 of clock time, expanding the lead out to 62-39 before UW’s Jordan Wilson scored with 6:03 to end the drought.
OSU’s biggest lead came at 68-43 after a score by Tamarah Riley, who added nine points. Wilburn, Alice Jamen and Stephanie Blanton all had two points. Blanton also grabbed seven rebounds for OSU, which outrebounded UW 43-27.
* Minnesota held off fifth-seeded Purdue 71-68 in another quarterfinal Thursday. Jamie Broback struck for 28 points and seven rebounds, while Janel McCarville had 22 points and nine rebounds.
OSU won the season's only meeting with Minnesota, prevailing 65-53 Feb. 17 in Columbus.
* The win on Thursday was OSU's third straight and 15th in 16 games, dating to a loss at Penn State in the Big Ten opener.
* The 24-point win was OSU's largest in Big Ten tournament play.
* The win over Wisconsin served as the 28th for Ohio State in the 2004-05 season, tying the all-time record for single-season wins. The 1984-85 team finished with a 28-3 record and the 1992-93 Big Ten Co-Champion and Final Four squad completed the season 28-4.
* Davenport's 18-point game brought her to within six points of 1,000 for her career. Davenport, who played 29 minutes to snap a string of five-straight 40-minute games, has the chance to become the 24th player in Ohio State history to reach 1,000 career points and just the third sophomore. Former All-Americans Katie Smith (1993-96) and Frani Washington (1978-80) are the other two Buckeyes to accomplish the feat in their sophomore seasons.