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Jan. 16, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 5/5 Ohio State women’s basketball team (17-2; 4-1 Big Ten) knocked off No. 4/7 Rutgers (12-3; 3-0 BIG EAST) 52-50 Sunday at Value City Arena in game one of the 2005 Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge.

The Buckeyes trailed by as many as seven points in the second half, but the squad shot 76.5 percent (13-of-17) in the final 20 minutes to chip away at the lead and capture a win over the highest-ranked opponent this season.

Rutgers’ Matee Ajavon hit two of her 20 points to tie the game at 45 with 2:35 left. Ohio State’s Brandie Hoskins hit a layup and the team forced a Rutgers’ shot clock violation to regain possession of the ball. Caity Matter drained her only 3-pointer of the game to give the Buckeyes a 50-45 advantage with 1:17 left.

Ashley Allen stole the ball from Ajavon with 56 ticks left on the clock. Hoskins went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line and Rutgers’ Essence Carson nailed a trey to keep the game within reach at 51-48 in favor of Ohio State. Stephanie Blanton sank one of her two attempts from the charity stripe with 10 seconds left to put it at 52-48. Carson sank yet another shot from 3-point land at :06, but the Buckeyes held on for the victory. It was the sixth-consecutive and seventh win of the season over a Top 25 team for the Buckeyes.

In the first half, Matter hit a jumper in the lane to give the Buckeyes a 15-10 lead at 6:57, but Rutgers responded with a 6-0 scoring run. Buckeye Jessica Davenport hit 1-of-2 free throws to knot the game at 16. Rutgers’ Nikki Jet sank a trey to give her team a 19-16 advantage with 3:24 until halftime. The Scarlet Knights would not let up and Michelle Campbell hit a field goal to end the half on a total 11-1 scoring run over the final seven minutes of the first. Rutgers led 21-16 at the break.

There were six ties and five lead changes in the second half. The last Rutgers’ lead was 38-37 at 7:33 left in the game, but the game was tied five times in the final minutes as the teams traded buckets.

Ohio State was led by Davenport, who scored 22 points and grabbed a team-best seven boards. It was her sixth 20-point game of the season. Kim Wilburn added eight points and Matter and Hoskins each netted seven. Hoskins and Wilburn combined for nine of the team’s 14 assists. Rutgers’ senior All-American Cappie Pondexter was 2-of-8 from the field and limited to five points in 19 minutes of action. Chelsea Newton collected a game-best nine rebounds and had seven points.

The Buckeyes travels to face Indiana at 7 p.m. EST Thursday in Bloomington, Ind.