Seniors go out with 71-62 win over Northwestern
Feb. 23, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State sent its five seniors out in style Sunday afternoon with a 71-62 win over the visiting Northwestern Wildcats on Senior Day at Value City Arena.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak and improved the Buckeyes back to .500 at 15-15 and 5-9 in Big Ten play. Northwestern falls to 14-13 and 4-10 overall.
Sophomore Ameryst Alston once again led the Buckeyes offensively with 30 points, her second straight 30-point game after tying a career high with 31 in the loss to No. 17 Nebraska Thursday. Alston went 14 of 17 from the free throw line and also had three assists and two steals. Her 14 makes from the stripe is tied for second on Ohio State's all-time single-game list.
Alston and the Buckeyes led by as much as 24 early in the second half, but Northwestern slowly chipped away and was able to cut the lead to five, 64-58, with 53 seconds left. That would be as close as the Wildcats would come, however, as Ohio State made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch to preserve the win, four of those coming from Alston.
Senior Martina Ellerbe closed out her career with 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks, hitting two 3-pointers in the process. Darryce Moore finished with four points and five rebounds, Amy Scullion had eight rebounds and two points and Ashley Adams finished out her home career with seven points, seven rebounds, four blocks and three steals. Fifth-year senior Aleksandra Dobranic also saw playing time in her final game at VCA.
This year's class (over the past four seasons) has so far been a part of 82 victories, two NCAA tournament appearances, a Sweet 16 and a Big Ten tournament championship in 2011.
"These seniors are a great bunch of kids," head coach Kevin McGuff said. "I've really enjoyed getting to know them and coach them. They have done anything that I've asked of them this year and they've done some great things to really help point the program in the right direction and I'll always be appreciative of that."
Ohio State built its lead with hot shooting and a stingy defense early on, holding the Wildcats to .320 percent shooting and forcing 12 turnovers in the first half. Ohio State made 5 of 8 three-pointers in the first 20 minutes, two from Ellerbe and two from Ferguson, who nearly missed out on a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds.
Maggie Lyon led Northwestern with 21 points while freshman Nia Coffey grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds and scored nine points.
Nearly 7,000 fans (6,670) came out to see the Buckeyes and the seniors in the final home game of the 2013-14 season.
"We've had a lot of great support this year from our fans," McGuff added. "With a new coach and new staff, I'm really appreciative of the fans embracing what we've done and what we're trying to do. I wish we could play some more in front of them this year, but hopefully it's a great sign of things to come and is certainly an area that we want to focus on and grow."
The Buckeyes will close out the regular season on the road with games at Iowa Thursday (7 p.m. ET) before traveling to Minnesota at 2 p.m. ET Sunday.