Buckeyes Lead Wire-To-Wire In 73-64 Victory Over #25 Northwestern
Sophomore Shayla Cooper
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State jumped out to a 9-0 lead and would never trail in a 73-64 victory over No. 25 Northwestern Sunday afternoon at Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes (10-5, 2-1 B1G) have won six of their last seven games including back-to-back games over ranked teams.
After enjoying a blowout victory last Thursday against No. 16 Rutgers, Ohio State had more of a fight with the Wildcats. The Buckeyes took a 10-point lead early in the second half and held on as Northwestern (12-2, 2-1 B1G) cut the deficit to one point on a couple of occasions. But down the stretch, the Buckeyes went on a 14-3 run to take control of the game.
Freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell again led Ohio State with 23 points. It was her 12th 20-point game this season and she also led the team with five assists.
Sophomore transfer Shayla Cooper came off the bench and scored a career-high 19 points and pulled-down a team-high nine rebounds.
Junior Ameryst Alston was 6-of-6 from the free throw line and finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Nia Coffey led the Wildcats with a double-double of 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. But she fouled-out with 4:14 to play in the game which came right in the middle of the Buckeyes' decisive run.
The Buckeyes led by six points at halftime and pushed the lead to 10 with 14:09 to play. An 11-2 Northwestern run over the next two and a half minutes trimmed the lead to one and forced an Ohio State timeout.
The scored stayed close until Cooper hit a pair of free throws with 6:36 to jump-start the key 14-3 run that gave the Buckeyes the momentum it needed to close out the game. Mitchell was again the catalyst during the spurt as she scored 10 of the 14 points and assisted on the other field goal.
The start of the game couldn't have gone any better for the Buckeyes as they raced out to a 9-0 lead thanks to some pressure defense. Northwestern missed its first four shots from the floor and had six turnovers before it scored its first point at the 15:44 mark. Mitchell scored seven of the first nine for the Buckeyes.
Once the teams settled-in, Northwestern worked its way back and held the Buckeyes scoreless over the final 2:42. That allowed the Wildcats to creep within 32-26 at the break.