DES MOINES, Iowa — Ohio State dropped a 60-49 decision to Florida State in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Jantel Lavender led the Buckeyes with 21 points and nine rebounds. Marscilla Packer added 13.
Ohio State ends the 2007-08 season with a 22-9 record. The senior class of Tamarah Riley, Packer and Alice Jamen ended their careers as the winningest class in Ohio State history with 109 victories.
Tanae Davis-Cain scored 27 points, one shy of her career high, and Mara Freshour added 14 points and 12 rebounds to help 11th-seeded Florida State upset the Buckeyes
The Seminoles, a somewhat surprising at-large pick after losing seven of their last 11 games, sure looked as though they belonged against the Buckeyes. Florida State (19-13) extended its streak of first-round victories to six dating to 1991.
“It’s a rule,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said of her team’s first-round success. “I think it’s our conference, the way our conference prepares us for this.”
The Seminoles advanced to play third-seeded Oklahoma State on Monday night. The Cowgirls beat East Tennessee State 85-73 on Saturday for their first NCAA tournament win in 12 years.
Ohio State lost in the second round to Boston College as a No. 1 seed in 2006 and was stunned by 13th-seeded Marist 67-63 last season.
Ohio State held Florida State to just 32.8 percent from the field, but the Seminoles grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and went 9-of-16 from 3-point range.
“Our decision making in transition wasn’t really good,” Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. “I think we played hard and made some good decisions at the end, but you have to control the glass and not have those second-chance opportunities.”
Ohio State fell behind by 12 early and never really recovered. The Seminoles then pounced on the Buckeyes at the start of the second half, reeling off an 18-8 run to push their lead to 48-30. Davis-Cain keyed that stretch with three 3s, and she scored 15 points in the second half.
The Seminoles went up by as much as 53-33. The Buckeyes reeled off 11 quick points, capped by a 3 from Packer, to get within nine with 5:32 left. But Packer misfired on a 3 and was called for charging, and Jacinta Monroe hit a turnaround in the paint with 2:32 left that essentially ended OSU’s comeback.
Florida State jumped ahead 16-4 on 3’s by Alysha Harvin and Davis-Cain. Lavender was the only Ohio State player to score in the opening 10 minutes as the Buckeyes trailed 30-22 at the break.
“We came in with the mind-set that we were going to take this game away from them and show the world that we deserve to be in the tournament and that’s what we did,” Monroe said.
Florida State reserve forward Cayla Moore left the game late in the first half because of an apparent leg injury. She didn’t return.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
This is Ohio State’s sixth-consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament and its 17th overall. The Buckeyes are 18-17 all-time in the tournament and now 12-5 in the opening round.
This is Jim Foster’s ninth-consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament and his 22nd overall. He is 29-22 after the loss Saturday.
The senior class of Marscilla Packer, Alice Jamen and Tamarah Riley finished their careers with 109 wins, the all-time winningest mark at Ohio State.
Saturday was the first meeting between Ohio State and Florida State.
Ohio State trailed 30-22 at the half. Ohio State is 3-6 when trailing at the half this season.
Tamarah Riley tied the all-time games played record Saturday with her 130th. Riley has played in every Ohio State game over the past four years. Jessica Davenport (2004-07) and Kim Wilburn (2003-06) also played in 130 career games.
Packer hit three 3-pointers in the loss and finished with 80 on the season tying her for third on Ohio State’s single-season list and second on the career list with 236. She passed her 79 3-point makes as a sophomore in 2005-06 for fourth on the single-season list.
Florida State outrebounded Ohio State 49-35 and hit 9-of-16 from deep 5-of-7 in the second half.
Lavender accounted for Ohio State’s first nine points Saturday and finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. Her season total of 547 ranks second all-time for a freshman to Katie Smith’s 578 from 1993-96.
Lavender scored in double-figures in all 31 games this season.
Lavender buried her first 3-pointer of the year at the 13:05 mark.
Junior forward Star Allen saw her first game action since Dec. 30 at Michigan State. She played 13 minutes and scored four points.