Jan. 6, 2008
By Derek Sawvell
IOWA CITY — The 20th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes used inside scoring and full-court pressure to sneak out of Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a 73-65 victory against Iowa in Big Ten action Sunday afternoon. With the win, Ohio State moves to 11-3 on the season and 2-1 in Big Ten play. Iowa fell to 9-6 on the year and 2-2 in the conference.
The Hawkeyes got a strong performance from junior guard Kristi Smith scoring 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting including 3-of-6 behind the arc. But it was the Buckeye’s Ashlee Trebilcock who had a career-high 25 points coming on 9-of-14 shooting.
“We had no answer for Ashlee,” said UI coach Lisa Bluder. “She had a career night.”
“I have not been shooting well all season and to see them start falling was nice” said Trebilcock.
Ohio State came out firing using inside scoring and layups from turnovers to take a 15-4 lead during the first five minutes of the first half.
Smith single-handedly brought the Hawkeyes back scoring 10 straight points, including three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt and another three-point basket to cut the Buckeye lead to 22-16. Smith finished the half with 17 of Iowa’s 29 points and shot 6-of-8 from the field.
Jenee Graham then made two free-throws to trim the lead to 22-18, the narrowest of the first half. But Ohio State continued its pressure and hot shooting to increase the lead. The Buckeyes shot 61.3-percent for the half shooting 19-of-31 from the field on the way to ending the first half on a 24-11 run to lead 46-29. The Buckeyes were led in the first half by Trebilcock with 14 points. Inside threats Tamarah Riley and Jantel Lavender combined for 18 points and seven rebounds. Riley finished with 11 points and eight rebounds while Lavender scored 12 and added seven.
Iowa used a 10-2 run during the first four minutes of the second half fueled by a three-point basket by Smith to cut the Buckeye lead to 50-39. The Hawkeyes and the Buckeyes then traded baskets until Iowa’s Wendy Ausdemore and Johanna Solverson began to heat up. Ausdemore scored all of her 10 points in the second half, including two three-pointers while Solverson chipped in six points on three lay-ins to cut the Ohio State lead to four once again 63-59 with 3:18 to go in the game.
Ohio State then stiffened up its defense and started feeding the ball inside, resulting in Iowa fouls and made free-throws for the Buckeyes as they maintained their lead 66-59.
“We wanted to put pressure on them,” Trebilcock said. “They’re a tall team and we wanted to make them put the ball on the floor.”
“It (the press) gave us problems,” Smith said. “We were running around like chickens with our heads cut off at first.” “I think they did a good job,” Bluder said. “I don’t think we handled it very well.”
Iowa’s Megan Skouby added four-straight points and Ausdemore added two more to cut the Ohio State lead to 69-65 but four-straight free-throws by Ohio State’s Marscilla Packer sealed the game for the Buckeyes 73-65.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Bluder. “In the first half they had 19 field goals and in the second half they only had eight.”
Ohio State coach Jim Foster echoed Bluder’s thoughts. “We didn’t give them an opportunity in the first half,” Foster said. “In the second half we slowed down and it became a half-court game and that benefits Iowa.”
Every team in the Big Ten has at least one loss in conference play and both coaches agreed that the race for the Big Ten crown would be wide open.
“Now that we’re in the league we are in a war,” Foster said.
“This win could have meant so much for us momentum-wise and on the national scene,” Bluder said. “We have to play better at home. We have to win at home. We have to establish that home-court dominance and we haven’t.”
The Hawkeyes play next at Michigan State on Jan. 10 at 7:05 p.m.
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