The Wildcats will attempt to continue their magical postseason run tonight against the Bobcats. Ohio (30-5, 14-4 MAC) edged High Point, Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky to get here, and has a 14-0 record against non-MAC opponents this season. Northwestern (19-14, 9-9 B1G) advanced thanks to remarkable comebacks against Toledo and West Virginia after an impressive first-round beatdown of Dayton.
The Wildcats will have to rely on the continued success of Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah on the glass and defensively, Lindsey Pulliam in terms of scoring, and Veronica Burton to run things on both sides of the ball. The trio have been crucial in this tournament with Jordan Hamilton struggling in her return from an injury.
Defensively and offensively, Northwestern needs to fire on all cylinders against Ohio, an NCAA Tournament bubble team coming out of a top-heavy but impressive conference. The Bobcats didn’t play a particularly difficult non-conference schedule, but managed to bank wins over Purdue, who beat Northwestern twice, and Buffalo, who reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“They’re really good,” said Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown. “They’re capable of scoring from the three point line and going to the basket, so you’ve gotta guard both. They’ve got a lot of people capable of scoring...you have to guard all five and you have to guard for the full possession.”
“It’s a tough matchup, but that’s what you expect when you get this far.”
If for whatever reason you can’t attend this game (Again, you really should if at all possible! This team deserves your support!), here’s how to watch/follow it:
Tipoff: 6 p.m.
Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena
Radio: WNUR Sports 89.3 FM (also wnursports.com)
Betting line: Northwestern -7.5, O/U 129.5