For the third year in a row, the Ohio State women’s basketball team won its NCAA Tournament opener.
The second-seeded Buckeyes crushed 15th-seeded Holy Cross 86-45 Sunday in a first-round NCAA game at College Park, Md.
Now, the challenge will be to reach the Sweet 16, something OSU has not done since its 1993 Final Four season. OSU will play the winner of today’s second game between host Maryland, the seventh seed, and 10th-seeded Wisconsin-Green Bay. That game will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN2).
Jessica Davenport had 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Brandie Hoskins scored 14 to lead the Buckeyes (29-4). OSU started the second half with a 15-0 run to take a 57-24 lead, then cruised to the finish. The 29 wins surpasses the school mark of 28 set by the 1984-85 team and matched by the 1992-93 team, which advanced to the Final Four.
Davenport, a 6-foot-4 sophomore center, was 10-for-16 from the floor. The Big Ten player of the year also had four blocks and two assists.
Lisa Andrews scored 13 points for 15th-seeded Holy Cross (20-11), which fell to 1-10 in NCAA tournament play. The Patriot League champions came in with a four-game winning streak, but were no match for the taller, quicker Buckeyes.
Ohio State opened by missing seven of its initial nine field-goal tries. Holy Cross couldn't capitalize, however, and Davenport scored eight points and Hoskins had six in a 20-2 run that made it 22-6.
Over the first 11 minutes, the Crusaders had six turnovers and were 3-for-13 from the field. The Buckeyes, in contrast, went 9-for-10 after their slow start.
A 9-2 spree that got Holy Cross to 24-15, but Davenport followed with a putback and Hoskins scored four straight points to put Ohio State up by 15.
The Buckeyes used 18-for-30 shooting to take a 42-24 lead at halftime. Ohio State was 0-for-6 from 3-point range at the break, but was credited with 34 points in the lane.
After the break, the Buckeyes expanded their scoring range. Davenport began the game-clinching 15-0 run with a hook, and Caity Matter and Ashley Allen added 3-pointers in a surge that lasted more than five minutes.