Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport scored on a turnaround basket with 3.4 seconds remaining, lifting the Buckeyes to a 75-71 win over visiting Oklahoma on Monday.
With the score tied 71-71, Davenport collected a pass from Ashley Allen, and turned and scored over Oklahoma’s sensational freshman center Courtney Paris.
Following a pair of timeouts, Allen stole the inbounds pass and made a layup to account for the final points of the evening.
“The first option was an iso for Brandie, but they did a good job of taking Brandie away,” OSU coach Jim Foster said of the winning possession. “Ashley made a good pass, Jess took her time, measured it, and took a quality shot. The execution at the end was significant.”
The 6-5 Davenport was barely able to get the shot over the 6-4 Paris.
“I just turned over my shoulder and didn’t imagine a defender behind me,” Davenport said. “I just took my time and made it.”
Junior guard Brandie Hoskins led the No. 10 Buckeyes (11-2) with 16 points. Davenport and sophomore guard Marscilla Packer finished with 15 apiece, and senior forward Debbie Merrill added 12.
For the No. 18 Sooners (12-4), Paris erupted for 23 points and 14 rebounds. She is the daughter of former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle and three-time Super Bowl champion Bubba Paris.
Oklahoma led by as many as 10 (33-23) in the first half. Ohio State was able to cut the deficit to 35-30 at halftime.
In the second half, the Sooners jumped out to a 40-32 lead. But then the Buckeyes turned it on. Led by the outside shooting of Hoskins and Packer, OSU worked its way back in the game. Two Packer free throws at the 14:32 mark gave OSU its first lead of the second half at 45-44.
The two sides went back and forth from there. Paris gave Oklahoma its final lead of the game (68-67) at the 1:49 mark with a turnaround basket.
A pair of Davenport free throws gave OSU a 69-68 lead with 1:32 showing on the clock.
Following a steal by Packer, Merrill dropped in a basket for a 71-68 OSU advantage with just 47.2 seconds left.
But a 3-pointer from Oklahoma’s Erin Higgins tied the score at 71-71 with 20.2 seconds remaining, setting up Davenport’s heroics.
“I thought our kids fought hard,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. “We had trouble shooting the ball on the perimeter and you have to credit Ohio State for the way they defended us.
“You hate to see a game like this slip away. We had it.”
The coach commended the play of OSU’s Hoskins, who was 7 of 13 from the floor.
“Brandie Hoskins was tough,” Coale said. “She took the game over in the second half. She took the game into her own hands.”
Foster said it was a tale of two halves for his talented shooting guard.
“The old Brandie played the first half,” he said. “The new Brandie played the second half and the new Brandie is tougher to guard. She needs to use the mid-range jumper and she did. She’s been accustomed to taking the ball to the basket her whole life.”
The 5-9 Hoskins was simply too much for the Sooners to stop in the second half.
“In the first half, (Foster) told me I was over-dribbling,” Hoskins said. “In the second half, my teammates believed in me and it’s easy to get going when your teammates believe in you.”
Oklahoma’s Paris was a load all night. She entered play averaging 21.3 points and 14.7 rebounds per game and she showed why she is arguably the top freshman in the country.
But it was the more experienced Davenport who got the last laugh.
“She’s a great player and made a great shot,” Paris said. “Much respect to her. I was right in her face.”
No, it wasn’t the smoothest basketball game you will ever see. But a win over a ranked opponent is always big.
“A quality season is often determined by winning ugly games,” Foster said.
Ohio State is now 2-2 against ranked opponents this season. The Buckeyes defeated Boston College, and lost to LSU and Purdue.
Ohio State will get back in action Thursday at Iowa at 8 p.m.