Women’s Basketball: No. 14 Northwestern beats Ohio State for eighth-straight win


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Abi Scheid shoots from behind the arc. The senior leads the nation in three point shooting.

Drew Schott, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

On Tuesday night, No. 14 Northwestern made history.

The Wildcats (25-3, 15-2 Big Ten) defeated Ohio State (17-11, 10-7) 69-55 to tie their all-time program record for victories in a single season with 25. NU also moved one game closer to clinching a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since the 1989-90 season.

Behind 19 points from senior forward Abi Scheid — who nailed five 3-pointers — and 16 points from junior guard Lindsey Pulliam, as well as a collective defensive effort that forced 14 turnovers, the Cats cruised to their eighth-straight win for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

“We locked down on defense,” Pulliam said. “We knew that if we locked down, it would turn into offense and we would be able to get out into transition and run what we wanted to run.”

In the game’s opening minutes, Ohio State came out firing, as forward Dorka Juhász scored five straight points to give the Buckeyes an early lead. NU’s defense — ranked second in the Big Ten — looked overwhelmed throughout the quarter as Ohio State took a 19-17 lead at the end of the first.

The Buckeyes went on a 4-0 run at the beginning of the second, forcing coach Joe McKeown to call an early timeout.

“We were a little jumpy,” McKeown said. “(I told) them to settle down and take care of the basketball. It was more to relax a little bit and keep grinding on defense.”

The break greatly helped the Cats, as Scheid, the nation’s top 3-point shooter, drained two triples to direct the team on a 10-3 run that gave NU its first lead of the game. The Cats held the Buckeyes to no baskets for the final four-and-a-half minutes of the half to take a 36-33 lead.

Scheid continued her stellar play into the second half, as she scored a wide-open layup eight seconds into the third quarter.

“My focus is working off the ball,” Scheid said. “Getting moving, setting up my screens, just running through the plays. Reading their defense is such a big thing: they were not switching on me.”

Ohio State eventually cut NU’s lead to one, but the Buckeyes, who shot 31 percent from the field, couldn’t keep up with the Cats. Scheid drained another 3-pointer to spark a 12-2 run in the last minutes of the third quarter that Pulliam capped off with a nearly 30-foot buzzer beater.

Up 56-45 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, NU’s offense continued to flourish as Scheid, Pulliam and Wolf extended the team’s lead to as many as 17 points before the eventual 14-point win.

On Saturday, the team will return to Welsh-Ryan Arena for Senior Day, their final regular-season game against Illinois. McKeown expects a “terrific” environment at the game to honor the team’s seniors, including Scheid, but the Minnesota native is focused on the postseason.

“I’m just looking forward to potentially making history for Northwestern women’s basketball,” Scheid said.

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