Women’s Basketball: Kim: Role players step up in another forgettable loss against No. 2 Ohio State


Daily file photo by Zoey Soh

Junior forward Paige Mott looks for a pass. Mott scored a career-high 16 points Thursday.

Lucas Kim, Social Media Editor

In a matchup between the Big Ten’s top and bottom teams, the result was unsurprisingly lopsided. 

Aiming for a massive upset, Northwestern (6-12, 0-8 Big Ten) failed to keep up with No. 2 Ohio State (19-0, 8-0 Big Ten) in an 84-54 defeat Thursday night.

The Buckeyes, one of three undefeated teams in the nation, entered Thursday averaging 86.4 points per game. Meanwhile, the Wildcats’ highest scoring output this season is 84.

Considering this hefty difference, NU needed a near-flawless game to merely compete with its heavily favored opposition. But after scoring only nine points in the first quarter and 15 in each of the next three quarters, the Cats left much to be desired on the court. 

Facing Ohio State’s belligerent full-court press defense –– in which three defenders  consistently lurk in the backcourt –– NU struggled to keep the ball and allowed 25 points off turnovers, while scoring only seven themselves.

The Cats also lost the 3-point battle, converting on 15.4% of their 3-point attempts and attempting only 13 3-pointers, their lowest in a game this season. Their only two 3-point makes in the whole game came with the result well-settled in the fourth quarter.

Despite its lack of emphasis on the deep ball, NU remained aggressive down low, getting to the line often and shooting 27 free throws.

One quick look at the box score reveals two contrasting themes: The Cats’ star players failed to show up, while various role players stepped up in a big way.

NU’s two best scorers this season, sophomore forward Caileigh Walsh and graduate student guard Sydney Wood, shot 1-of-12 from the field collectively and combined for 11 points.

On the other hand, junior forward Paige Mott led the team with a career-high 16 points, consistently receiving open passes in the post and finishing with quickness. Freshman guard Caroline Lau also played her best game of the season, scoring a career-high 13 points off the bench and tallying a team-high five rebounds.

The Cats failed to contain a hot Ohio State offense that leads the Big Ten in point differential.

Four different Buckeyes scored double digit points, including senior guard Taylor Mikesell, who torched NU with 18 points and four 3-pointers. Senior forward Rebeka Mikulášiková added 18 points and 7 rebounds.

The schedule has not been friendly for the Cats, as this was their fourth game this season against a top-10 opponent and seventh total against teams ranked in the top-25. 

Having fallen in seven straight games  — all against conference opponents — coach Joe McKeown must keep his team focused if they hope to salvage the season.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lucaskim_15

Related Stories:

Women’s Basketball: Northwestern’s comeback attempt falls short in 65-54 loss to Purdue

Women’s Basketball: Epstein: Northwestern shows flashes of offensive success but lacks a complete performance in sixth straight loss

Women’s Basketball: Kim: The Wildcats need to consider tweaking their lineups to improve offensively