COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Jessica Davenport scored 22 points and
Caity Matter hit five free throws down the stretch to lead Ohio
State to a 73-67 win over West Virginia on Saturday in the first
round of the NCAA tournament.
The sixth-seeded Buckeyes (21-9) advanced to play Boston College
on Monday in the Mideast Regional. The No. 18 Eagles held off
Eastern Michigan 58-56.
Davenport hit 10 of 11 shots from the field, and the one miss
could have been considered a deflected pass. She seldom went more
than a step or two from the basket, helping the Buckeyes outscore
West Virginia 46-16 in the paint.
Matter finished with 15 points, hitting five of six free throws
in the final 1:47. Brandie Hoskins added 12 points and six assists
and LaToya Turner had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Kate Bulger, the Big East's top 3-point shooter, led the
11th-seeded Mountaineers (21-11) with 18 points, while little
sister Meg Bulger and Sherell Sowho each had 14. Yolanda Paige
chipped in with 13 points and seven assists.
St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger, brother of Kate and Meg,
was at the game, played on campus at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes'
home court is Value City Arena, but it is hosting the girls state
high school championships this week.
West Virginia had only two healthy players as tall as 6-foot-2,
while Ohio State started a 6-5 center and a 6-3 power forward and
brought players 6-1 and 6-0 off the bench.
After the Mountaineers tied the game at 47 with 14 minutes left,
Davenport made two foul shots and then converted a short lob pass
from Turner, sandwiched around a free throw by Hoskins.
Kate Bulger's 3-pointer from the left wing with 5:51 left cut
the lead to 59-55, but Kim Wilburn made a 14-foot jumper, Hoskins
followed with a left-handed drive and Wilburn scored in transition
for a 65-55 lead with four minutes to go.
Matter then hit five of six free throws in the closing two
West Virginia was making its third NCAA appearance but first in
12 years. The Buckeyes are in their 13th NCAA tournament and second
in a row.
The Buckeyes, the nation's top field-goal percentage team, shot
50 percent for the game. They continually looked inside to
Davenport and Turner in the second half. The shorter Mountaineers
got into heavy foul trouble trying to hold off Ohio State inside
and on the boards.
The Buckeyes have won eight of their last nine, the lone loss
coming to No. 3 Purdue in the Big Ten semifinals last week.