The Wisconsin women’s basketball team hung with No. 7 Ohio State early, only to succumb to a blowout defeat at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
In the process, the Badgers (7-13 overall, 1-7 Big Ten) lost their sixth consecutive conference game.
Ohio State center Jessica Davenport led the Buckeyes’ 73-46 victory. The junior center had 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots, the latter giving her a school career record 244.
The game was tied at 10-10 about eight minutes into the first half. But an 11-2 run gave the Buckeyes the lead for good.
Senior forward Jordan Wilson’s jumper with 3:45 left in the first half brought UW within 25-19, but OSU closed the half with a 9-3 run to take a 34-22 lead into halftime.
Wisconsin could not muster a comeback, and OSU turned the game into a rout, going on a 12-2 spurt to open the second half. With 13:05 left in the game Wisconsin closed the gap to 16 points. But 48-32 was as close as the Badgers would get.
The Buckeyes (16-2, 7-1), who entered the game second in the nation in points allowed per game at 51.2, held the Badgers to their lowest point total of the season. The Badgers made just 29 percent from the field, including 2 of 10 3-pointers. Wisconsin was led by sophomore guard Jolene Anderson, who finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Sophomore guard Janese Banks returned to the court for the first time since Jan. 5, when she injured her foot. But the team’s second-leading scorer got off to a rocky start, putting up just two points in 18 minutes off the bench while collecting four personal fouls and turning the ball over five times. Senior forward Annie Nelson, who has been nursing a shoulder injury, played six minutes in reserve.
Sophomore forward Danielle Ward scored nine points and had six rebounds, while senior forward Jordan Wilson added eight points and sophomore guard Shari’ Welton contributed six.
While Wisconsin was struggling to hit shots, Ohio State was filling up its box score. In addition to Davenport’s big night, Debbie Merrill had 16 points and Brandie Hoskins chipped in eight as the Buckeyes shot 53 percent and outscored the Badgers 46-16 in the paint. Guards Ashley Allen and Marscilla Packer each had six assists and Allen had five steals. Twelve Ohio State players contributed points Thursday.
“I think we were only 4-for-20 in the post tonight and the main reason for that was Jessica Davenport,” Wisconsin coach Lisa Stone said. “She is long, she can defend and you can’t shot over her. She is the best post player in the nation in my opinion.”
Wisconsin will face host Michigan Sunday afternoon; the game will be televised on Comcast.