Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Women’s Basketball: Northwestern loses second straight game to No. 20 Ohio State

Basketball+player+Casey+Harter%2C+who+is+wearing+a+white+uniform%2C+dribbles+the+ball+away+from+Ohio+State+guard+Madison+Greene%2C+who+is+wearing+red.
Rachel Spears/The Daily Northwestern
Freshman guard Casey Harter dribbles the ball against Ohio State.

Three days after surrendering a season-high 30 turnovers to Penn State, Northwestern relinquished possession another 28 times in a 90-60 loss to No. 20 Ohio State Friday.

The Wildcats (6-9, 1-3 Big Ten) currently rank 276th of 348 in the NCAA in turnovers, averaging 18.4 turnovers per game. Of all major-conference teams, NU ranks fifth-worst in the country.

Pair that with the Buckeyes’ (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten) high-octane defensive unit, averaging 11.1 steals per game, and the ’Cats were left with a recipe for disaster on the court. 

“We just need to value (the ball) more,” senior forward Paige Mott said. 

The ’Cats took the court at Welsh-Ryan Arena Friday night for the first time in 2024, with student support bolstered by a promotional “Reality TV Night.” “Survivor” stars Austin Li Coon, Xander Hastings and second-year Kellogg School of Management student Sarah Wade were present for a pregame meet-and-greet with fans, along with “Love is Blind” star Jarrette Jones.

The game’s outset was all red and white. Buckeye guard Jacy Sheldon drove to the basket and scored on Ohio State’s first possession before NU turned the ball over on its ensuing offensive possession. Another turnover and two missed shots later, the ’Cats took a timeout just three minutes into the game, staring at a six-point deficit.

The Buckeyes’ half-court trapping method gave NU fits throughout the game, causing turnovers and errant passes. The ’Cats were held scoreless for nearly five minutes before junior forward Caileigh Walsh drained a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to break the team’s scoring duck with 5:34 left to play in the first quarter. By that point, NU had already committed four turnovers.

Walsh then hit another triple on the next possession, after which sophomore guard Caroline Lau made a trey. Graduate transfer guard Maggie Pina converted from deep and the ’Cats clawed their way back to take a 16-15 lead with 2:47 left in the first quarter. 

Despite the double-digit loss, NU shot an efficient 8-of-15 clip from beyond the arc against Ohio State, which was good for a 53.3% conversion rate.

“Three point shooting is something we didn’t do well last year,” assistant coach Maggie Lyon said. “Anytime we can shoot this percentage from three, it’s something we want to continue to build on, and gives our girls confidence.”

Although the ’Cats kept the game close early, the first-quarter lead marked their only advantage on Friday. NU ended the first frame trailing 20-19, and a 16-6 Ohio State run put them behind 11 points midway through the second quarter. 

Lau hit another outside shot to cut the deficit to eight points, but the ’Cats went scoreless in the final three minutes and headed into halftime in a 42-28 hole. They were outscored 22-9 in the second quarter.

The second half was more of the same: NU eclipsed the 20-turnover mark during the third quarter, and Ohio State continued to make their shots. The Buckeyes scored 37 points off turnovers, while the ’Cats only managed eight. 

“It definitely hurts… (it) definitely is like an uppercut to the face,” Mott said. 

Even as the game was unofficially declared over when both coaches subbed in the bulk of their benches during the fourth quarter, Ohio State just kept scoring. The two teams hovered around a 20-point margin before Buckeye guard Emma Shumate drilled a three-pointer with 18 seconds remaining to end the game as a 30-point Ohio State win.

The ’Cats will set their sights next on a matchup with Wisconsin on Wednesday in Madison.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @HenryFrieman

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