Women’s Basketball: Northwestern falls 84-54 to Ohio State in seventh straight loss


Daily file photo by Angeli Mittal

Freshman guard Caroline Lau dribbles the ball in transition. The Connecticut native scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting against Ohio State.

Jake Epstein , Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern embarked for battle in Columbus, Ohio, looking to stun undefeated No. 2 Ohio State and earn its first conference win of the season. But the Wildcats (6-12, 0-8 Big Ten) never sounded an upset alert, as the Buckeyes (19-0, 8-0 Big Ten) controlled the contest from tip-off en route to a 84-54 victory.

Ohio State drew first blood from deep off two Rebeka Mikulášiková triples, but junior forward Paige Mott and senior guard Kaylah Rainey kept the contest close with a pair of two-pointers. While the game stood at 9-8 during the first media timeout, the Buckeyes closed the first frame on a 10-1 run and led 19-9 after 10 minutes.

NU made four trips to the foul line before graduate student guard Sydney Wood worked through contact to drill a layup. Following nearly six minutes of second period play without a field goal, the Cats finally hit from the field. While Mott’s seven-point second quarter kept the game within reach, Ohio State seemingly had a counter to every NU advance, as the half ended at 38-24.

The Buckeyes made their first three second half field goals, and coach Joe McKeown was forced to call a timeout after an early 8-2 run. While the Cats saw some success with a small ball lineup against Purdue, Ohio State shut down the scheme, and McKeown shifted back to two forwards.

The gap between the Big Ten’s top and bottom sides proved especially wide in the third quarter, and NU’s cold 29.4% shooting clip did not help the cause. At the other end, the Buckeyes knocked down 8-of-13 third quarter field goals and pulled away to a 65-39 lead entering the final frame.

Facing a nearly insurmountable deficit, the Cats needed to generate instant offense for any shot at an improbable comeback. Freshman guard Caroline Lau drilled NU’s first three-pointer of the game and tallied four points within the first three minutes of the final quarter, but Ohio State mounted a 15-0 run over 3:25 and removed any shadow of a doubt.

With such a wide margin, both sides rotated the floor and saw out the remainder of the contest. Freshman forward Alana Goodchild and sophomore forward Mercy Ademusayo combined for the game’s final eight points, as the Cats’ losing skid slipped to seven.

NU’s shooters struggled to find high percentage looks throughout the contest, and the entire squad was outscored by the Buckeyes’ four most productive players, who combined for 57 points. The Cats, who lost a December matchup against Ohio State 81-48, dropped another 30-plus-point loss to the Big Ten leader.

Next on the slate for NU is another ranked opponent, with a Sunday home matchup against No. 21 Illinois. The Cats nearly pulled off an improbable road comeback in their last faceoff with the Fighting Illini and look to piece together a complete performance to earn an upset victory at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

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Twitter: @jakeepste1n

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