Women’s Basketball: Wildcats’ strong season hits snag in Columbus

Max Schuman, Reporter

A brilliant start to Northwestern’s season hit a roadbump Sunday afternoon when the Cats (12-2, 2-1 Big Ten) fell to Ohio State (10-5, 2-1) on the road, 73-64.

Junior guard Maggie Lyon led the way for NU with 17 points, but her efforts couldn’t overcome the Cats’ shooting woes and turrnover troubles. NU finished 4-23 on 3-pointers and turned the ball over 20 times in the game.

On the other side, the dynamic guard duo of Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston poured in a combined 39 points to spark the Buckeye offense. Mitchell and Alston are the highest and second-highest scorers per game, respectively, in the Big Ten.

“I thought we did a good job on Mitchell and on Alston, but they hurt us in spots and at times,” head coach Joe McKeown said.

NU fell into an 11-1 hole early in the game, and though the team kept making runs at the Buckeyes’ lead throughout the game, the Cats could never jump ahead. Ohio State led at halftime, 32-26, with Lyon scoring 11 of her 17 to prop up the NU offense in the period.

The Cats continued to apply pressure in the game, cutting the lead to a mere point at times in the second half. But sophomore forward Nia Coffey fouled out with a little over four minutes left in the game, and NU didn’t mount a serious challenge for the remainder of the contest.

“It was a really good game back and forth, but the last five or six minutes we couldn’t score and they scored,” McKeown said.

Prior to their matchup with the Buckeyes, the Cats were enjoying their finest start to a season under McKeown.

NU had picked up wins over ranked teams in Michigan State and DePaul, and its sole loss came in a de facto road game against Arizona State in the final of the ASU Classic. A win against Wisconsin on Thursday was McKeown’s 100th victory at NU.

The Cats have been succeeding with stingy defense, allowing 54.5 points per game on 32.6 percent shooting prior to the contest. Coffey led the team with 16.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game before Sunday’s tilt.

The hot start led to NU being ranked 25th in the most recent USA Today Coaches Poll, the first ranking in the poll in school history. The loss hasn’t changed McKeown’s opinion of his team.

“We’ve got a chance every game we play to be really good,” he said. “But sometimes we’ve got to get through some of the roller coaster.”

Email: [email protected]northwestern.edu