Minnesota’s women’s basketball team was looking to capitalize on its last chance to beat a top-tier team before heading into the postseason.
Instead, the Gophers became just another checkmark on the long list of teams Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport has used as fodder for her scoring feast.
Davenport scored 35 points – just one shy of her career high – in shredding Minnesota’s defense and leading the second-ranked Buckeyes to a 65-53 win Thursday at Value City Arena.
“I think that was one the better games of her career,” Gophers center Janel McCarville said. “I was making her take some tough shots, but she didn’t miss. She was really hitting them.”
Davenport was nearly unstoppable, going 15-of-19 from the field while pulling down 11 rebounds – all defensive. She added five blocks as well.
McCarville did her best to match Davenport’s tenacity by scoring 22 points. But McCarville was tagged with her third and fourth fouls 8:04 into the second half after arguing a personal foul call and getting hit with a technical.
No. 14 Minnesota (19-6, 9-4) thoroughly controlled the first 15 minutes of the game, leading most of the way by as much as 19-13.
But after a Kelly Roysland layup gave Minnesota a 21-15 lead, Ohio State (25-2, 12-1) exploded with an 11-0 run. Davenport provided the final six points of the run to give the Buckeyes a 26-21 lead.
Minnesota made just one field goal in the last 6:40 of the half, and Ohio State took a 28-23 lead at intermission.
After an 8-2 Buckeyes run, another 7-0 run moments later on two baskets by Davenport and a three-pointer by Brandie Hoskins gave Ohio State a 47-34 lead – its biggest of the game.
Hoskins finished with nine points for the Buckeyes. April Calhoun was the only other Gophers player in double figures with 12 points.
After 21 games, Minnesota still has never won at Ohio State. The Gophers will also finish the season having lost all of their games against teams above them in the Big Ten standings.
But coach Pam Borton said that isn’t something she’s too worried about.
“We still feel good about where we are,” said Borton, who was upbeat despite the loss. “Last year we weren’t able to get the job done on the road either. It’s tough to beat the top teams on the road, but we don’t feel like we have anything else to prove. We’re a great team.”