In its first home game of the new year, Northwestern women’s basketball (6-9, 1-3 Big Ten) suffered its second straight Big Ten defeat, losing 90-60 to No. 20 Ohio State (11-3, 2-1 B1G). Caileigh Walsh paced NU with 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Jacy Sheldon poured in 18 for the Buckeyes. Walsh and Paige Mott were the only Wildcats who scored double digits, while the entirety of Ohio State’s starting five had over 10 points.
Northwestern ended the game with 28 turnovers, the second-most that it had in a single contest this season. Notably, Ohio State only had 15 steals, which meant 13 of its turnovers were self-induced. In addition, NU committed 17 fouls, five more than OSU.
The Buckeyes only shot 38.9% from deep (compared to 53% for Northwestern) and were outrebounded 26 to 36 by the Wildcats, but NU making all the mistakes that it did allowed the visitors to come out with a win. In addition, Ohio State made 11 more shots than Northwestern.
Ohio State scored on the first possession of the game as its leading scorer Sheldon hit a two-point jumper. It started off the game on an 8-0 run, as the Wildcats struggled with possession and had already committed two turnovers.
Northwestern got its first points up on the board when Walsh hit back-to-back three-pointers with around five minutes to go, forcing Ohio State to take a timeout. Buckeye Celeste Taylor made a three immediately afterward, but the Wildcats’ momentum didn’t stop as sophomore Caroline Lau, graduate student Maggie Pina and then Walsh again all got a three apiece.
With two minutes left in the quarter, Walsh made another layup to make the score 16-15, giving the Wildcats a lead for the first time during the game. Ohio State responded but could never get too far ahead, as it ended the first quarter with a 20-19 lead.
The second quarter was a lot more lopsided in favor of the Buckeyes, three fouls (two of them led to four Ohio State free throws made) and a three-second violation-induced turnover didn’t really help Northwestern’s cause. When the Wildcats called timeout with 4:43 left in the quarter, they had already committed 10 turnovers and Ohio State was outscoring them 14-6.
Welsh-Ryan got loud again when Lau hit a three with around three minutes left in the quarter, but Sheldon and Rikki Harris made back-to-back triples for Ohio State immediately afterward. The game was scoreless for the final two minutes and 33 seconds of the second quarter, but the Buckeyes headed into halftime winning 42-28 and on a 6-0 run.
Mott went for two to score the first points of the second half. The next two points came from junior Melanie Daley, who is Northwestern’s top scorer but didn’t get anything on the board in all of the first half. Lau and Taylor both made threes afterward, but three fouls on Northwestern put Ohio State up 52-35 with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats hit 20 turnovers even as three minutes were left in the third quarter. They went on a two-minute scoreless run before Mott drained a hook shot. Bad things came for NU shortly afterward, as Walsh received her fourth foul and was benched for around four minutes. To end the third quarter, Ohio State led 62-41.
Ohio State outscored Northwestern 28-19 in the fourth quarter, and the Wildcats added another seven turnovers to its not-so-great tally. Both teams started putting their subs in, and players like first-year Crystal Wang and junior Mercy Ademusayo got some rare playing time and tallied up points. However, there wasn’t much for the Wildcats to do as things got ugly toward the end of the game, and they suffered a blowout loss.
The ‘Cats return to action Wednesday to take on Wisconsin from Madison. Tip is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on Big Ten Plus.