Foster's 650th Win Is Buckeye Blowout

Foster's 650th Win Is Buckeye Blowout

Ohio State head coach Jim Foster picked up his 650th career victory, but more importantly for the present saw his team respond to having its recent dominance of the Big Ten put to the test.

Ohio State came out looking like a team not ready to relinquish sole possession of first place in the Big Ten women's basketball race.

By halftime it was pretty clear the 15th-ranked Buckeyes would not have to.

They rode a 66.7-percent shooting effort and suffocating defense to a 47-24 halftime lead then cruised to the 650th victory of head coach Jim Foster's career.

The final score was 89-53, but most of the 4,341 in attendance had to have known the game was decided long before the final bucket.

"We knew we had to win – it wasn't an option," Buckeye Marscilla Packer said. "We're at home. We have to protect our home court. We want to stay at the top of the Big Ten. We don't want to be tied or leave it in someone else's hands. We want to keep it for ourselves."

She did her part with 12 points, including nine in the decisive first half, and seven assists.

She made 2 of 3 from three-point range but was bested in that department by fellow guard Ashlee Trebilcock, who made all three of her long-range tries and finished with 11 points.

The outside attack provided by those two helped Jantel Lavender get more room to operate down low, and the freshman center responded with 22 points and nine rebounds.

"Basically I was just able to go down and get position, get deep in the lane, and when a post player gets position that deep in the lane it is hard to guard anybody," Lavender said of her success.

But there was more to the OSU attack than that big three.

Just about anybody Foster put in seemed to have something positive to contribute.

Tamarah Riley had eight points, five assists and four rebounds. Shavelle Little returned after missing the Minnesota loss with a sprained knee and added six points, four rebounds, two assists and no turnovers in 20 minutes.

Brittany Johnson came off the bench to score seven points and Andrea Walker ahd eight.

That was not all, but the cumulative result was a 36-point win. The Buckeyes never trailed, leaving first-year Penn State coach Coquese Washington with little to say afterwards.

"They're a very good team and they played very well in all phases of the game today," she said. "Starting off, Marscilla Packer made a couple of jumpers and that loosened them up. Then they went inside to Jantel Lavender and we did not have an answer for her."

That was all Washington had to say, but one could hardly blame her, so thorough was the domination of her team as it fell to 13-8 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes (16-4, 7-2) entered the night coming off a loss to Minnesota and holding a half-game lead in the Big Ten over the trio of Minnesota, Iowa and Purdue, all of whom were idle.

Foster said his defense was better in all aspects and more aggressive than in the previous two games, when the Buckeyes gave up 70 and 79 points to Wisconsin and Minnesota, respectively.

"I just wanted our defense to play better and I think we did," Packer said. "We said that if we set the tempo with our defense the offense would come and that's what happened."

Ohio State forced 17 turnovers and allowed just 18 made field goals. The Nittany Lions were 18 of 54 (33.3 percent) for the game.

The Buckeyes had seven steals, 20 assists and won the rebounding battle 39-30.

They shot a blistering 58.2 percent from the floor for the game, including 6 of 11 three-pointers.

Tyra Grant led Penn State with 16 points and seven rebounds. Brianne O'Rourke added 12 points and four assists but committed six turnovers.

Foster became the 13th women's basketball coach to reach 650 wins, and he was predictably unimpressed with himself.

"Coaches don't win any games without good players. It's a fact of life," he said. "ESPN was created to create illusions. Players win games for coaches, and I've had a lot of good ones."

Foster is in his seventh year at Ohio State after previous stops at St. Joseph's and Vanderbilt.

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