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Florida Beats Ohio State, Faces Baylor Next
March 18, 2012
Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Top-seeded Baylor was assigned to play its first two women's NCAA Tournament games in Bowling Green, Ohio - located just two hours from Ohio State's campus in Columbus.

Given the fact that the Lady Bears' second-round opponent would be winner of No. 8 seed Ohio State and No. 9 Florida, Baylor faced the prospect of a hostile road environment in Tuesday night's Round of 32.

Florida (20-12) eliminated that issue by eliminating the Buckeyes. The Gators jumped to a 13-point first half lead and were never headed in beating Ohio State, 70-65. Florida will face Baylor, an 81-40 winner over No. 16 seed UC Santa Barbara, at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Gators had little trouble finding open looks against Ohio State's 2-3 zone. In the first half, Florida made 7-of-16 from the 3-point line. For the game, the Gators were 9-of-21 from three but 17-of-53 on 2-point field goals.

Ohio State (25-7) closed to within 65-63 with 1:01 to play but Florida answered 16 seconds later with a low-post layup by Jennifer George that made it 67-63 and closed the door on the Big Ten Conference team.

"We got quality shots," said Ohio State coach Jim Foster, who was outspoken in complaining about his team's seed. "We just had some very bad turnovers, some unforced turnovers. We shot ourselves in the foot a lot."

Florida had eight losses by six or fewer points. The Gators believe overcoming that adversity to reach the NCAA Tournament gives them the resolve needed to take on the team favored to win the national championship.

"I've haven't scouted Baylor," Florida coach Amanda Butler said after her team's defeat of Ohio State. "I think every women's basketball fan in the country has admired the season they've had, how they've played with a high level of consistency despite having a giant target on their back."

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