HC women ousted

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Bill Gibbons wanted the Holy Cross women would draw a team from out west that wouldn’t know the Crusaders and might take them lightly in the first round of the NCAA Womens’ Basketball Tournament.

“I was hoping we would get somebody who might think Holy Cross was a nunnery,” said Gibbons.

That did not happen. Instead, Holy Cross, the No. 15 seed in the Philadelphia regional, drew a second-seeded Ohio State team coached by Gibbons’ friend Jim Foster and led by Jessica Davenport, a 6-4 emerging superstar,who dominated both ends of the floor Sunday in Ohio State’s 86-45 win.

Davenport, the Buckeyes’ sophomore center, showed why she is on the checklists for every major award in women’s hoops, dropped a 23-point, 11-rebound double-double on the Crusaders in the first 28 minutes of the game, then took a seat to watch as her teammates mopped up.

The Big Ten’s Player of the Year owned the paint at both ends of the floor. On offense, Davenport hit 10 of the 16 shots she took. On defense, she blocked four shots, altered countless others and completely shut down Holy Cross’ senior center Lisa Andrews.

Andrews, a first team All-Patriot League pick and the conference tournament MVP, finished with 13 points. But 6 of those came after Davenport sat down with 12:19 to play. While Davenport was on the floor, the 6-3 Andrews took 14 shots. She connected on only three of those, two of those accounting for 4 of Holy Cross’ first 6 points.

“Mentally, I altered my shots because of her presence,” Andrews said. “She definitely is a presence out there.”

Holy Cross (20-11), the No. 15 seed in the Philadelphia regional, was really only in the game for about the first nine minutes. After Davenport scored the first bucket of the game, Andrews and Brittany Keil hit back-to-back jumpers to give the Crusaders a 4-2 lead. Then Ohio State (29-4) took off on a 20-2 run, taking on a Davenport basket with 8:56 to play. At that point, Davenport was already in double figures.

The Crusaders answered with a 9-2 spurt of their own to cut the Buckeyes lead back to single digits at 24-15. But Ohio State quickly pushed the margin back to double figures, outscoring HC 18-9 the rest of the half to take a 42-24 lead at the intermission.

Any thoughts of a Holy Cross comeback were erased when Ohio State started the second half with a 15-0 run. By the first TV timeout of the second half, Ohio State led 54-24. The Buckeyes lead never got below 30-points the rest of the game.

Brandie Hoskins (14 points) and Caity Matter (12) joined Davenport in double figures for OSU, which shot 53 percent from the floor.

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