After a two-game losing streak, Northwestern women's basketball (12-4, 1-3 Big Ten) hosts No. 5 Ohio State (12-3, 4-0 Big Ten) on Thursday. The Wildcats were blown out by No. 18 Michigan State over the weekend and lost at home to Purdue last Thursday. Ohio State is coming in with an eight game winning streak and victories over No. 8 Maryland, Rutgers and Indiana.
"We're pissed," said junior Christen Inman. "It's not the way we wanted to start Big Ten play."
The Buckeyes are rightly considered one of the best teams in the nation. Sophomore Kelsey Mitchell is second in the country in scoring, averaging 25.0 points per game. Her teammate Ameryst Alston averages 18.8 points per game, and Northwestern will have to focus on defense in order to stop the best offense in the Big Ten. However, Northwestern has struggled defensively in its two-game slide, especially against Aerial Powers and Michigan State last weekend.
"They're scoring close to ninety points a game in-conference," said head coach Joe McKeown. "Our biggest focus is going to be getting back on defense and shutting them down."
Last season, Northwestern lost 73-64 to an unranked Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio early in the season. Northwestern will need to bounce back offensively if it wants to stand any chance against Ohio State. The offense went cold from three against Michigan State was unable to do much. Ashley Deary and Maggie Lyon have slowed down after their excellent starts to the season, but Northwestern might need to beat Ohio State in a shootout if it wants to emerge victorious. The Wildcats have the offensive firepower to do so, but it will be difficult against Ohio State's athletic and deep squad.
The game will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Here's how you can watch if you can't make it to Welsh-Ryan: