Buckeyes Will Have To Wait To See Pairing Results - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Buckeyes Will Have To Wait To See Pairing Results

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Ohio State's fatigue hurt its chances in the Big Ten tournament championship. The Buckeyes will have to wait for the NCAA tournament pairings to see how costly their exhaustion really was.

The fifth-ranked Buckeyes, drained after an overtime win over Penn State in Sunday's semifinals, lost 64-52 to No. 12 Purdue in the final on Monday night. Ohio State's collapse might have cost it a top seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Buckeyes fell behind Purdue 21-0 and didn't make a field goal for more than 10 minutes to start the game. Jessica Davenport finally made Ohio State's first basket with 9:36 left in the first half after the Buckeyes missed their first 13 shots.

Davenport acknowledged the Buckeyes were affected by playing less than 24 hours after their exhausting 73-71 win over the Nittany Lions.

"Maybe a little bit, but you can't make excuses," she said. "It's the championship game and you go out there to play to win."

Ohio State coach Jim Foster didn't say how he thought the outcome would affect the seedings for either team.

"You know, there's a lot of discussion at this time of year by people who have no business discussing those things," he said. "There's a tournament committee in place, and their job is all year long to evaluate teams. I'm satisfied they'll make good decisions relative to the body of work that's presented to them."

Davenport scored 30 points in the quarterfinal win against Indiana and 32 in the semifinal against Penn State. She scored 22 points against Purdue on 9-for-19 shooting.

Davenport played every minute of a game for just the second time this season, and it showed at the free-throw line. She made four of eight free throws after entering the tournament shooting 77 percent from the line.

"It's kind of frustrating when the shots you normally make don't go in," Davenport said.

Foster called three timeouts in the first half to help his players catch their wind. Still, Purdue found a way to grab nearly every loose ball and tip. Ohio State, featuring the 6-foot-5 Davenport inside, got outrebounded 34-28.

Foster said there was more to Ohio State's troubles than fatigue. He said he was forced to play reserves Shavelle Little and Andrea Walker more minutes than usual in the second half because they provided a spark that the starters didn't bring.

"We had a couple of players not at the intensity level that is necessary in a championship game," he said. "We kept looking down the bench to find people."

The Buckeyes (28-3) also lacked depth because guard Marscilla Packer still wasn't 100 percent after she sprained her left ankle in the quarterfinal against Indiana. Packer had seven points and four assists in 29 minutes.

Ohio State made a push to cut the deficit to 38-28 early in the second half. The Buckeyes made a series of mini-runs the rest of the way but never got back into the game.

Katie Gearlds had 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists for 12th-ranked Purdue (28-5) and earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton had 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Ohio State shot only 40.4 percent from the field and barely avoided its lowest point total of the season after scoring 51 points in a loss at LSU on Dec. 10.
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