With the postseason looming, the Northwestern Women’s Basketball team traveled to Columbus, OH looking to defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes and tie a program record in the process. Joe McKeown’s squad came into this Big Ten matchup with a 24-3 record, one win away from tying the 1978-1979 Wildcats’ record win total of 25 wins.
Facing off against a young and talented Ohio State squad, Northwestern struggled out of the gate. The Buckeyes, winners of five out of their last six and looking for a resumé-building win, came out hot as leading scorer Dorka Juhasz made her first two shots to give the Buckeyes a 5-0 lead. Although Northwestern shot well from the field on the day (27-48, 63%), Ohio State’s domination on the glass early and uncharacteristic turnovers from multiple ‘Cats saw Ohio State lead at the end of the first quarter (19-17). Northwestern would finish with 10 turnovers in the first half alone. Nevertheless, Northwestern settled down in the second quarter as efficient ball movement on offense gave the ‘Cats a 36-33 lead going into halftime at Value City Arena.
Both teams battled hard in the third and Northwestern struggled to pull away from Ohio State as forwards Juhasz and Aaliyah Patty kept the Buckeyes in the game. But in an instant, Northwestern turned on the jets, pulling away in the final minutes of the third thanks to two monstrous blocks from Courtney Shaw (Shaw would finish with 6 points, 3 rebounds, and two blocks in 15 minutes off the bench), an Abi Scheid triple, and a three point prayer that Lindsey Pulliam somehow banked in off the glass as time expired in the third.
Northwestern’s fiery finish to the third seemed to take the air out of the Ohio State players in addition to the Buckeye faithful as Northwestern comfortably closed out the fourth quarter to win their 25th game of the season by a score of 69-55, tying the program record for wins in a season. With 19 points on 5-7 shooting from beyond the arc, Abi Scheid (48.1% from three on the season) was the standout for the ‘Cats as she looks to put her name in the history books as well with the best three point shooting season in Northwestern history.