Northwestern Locks Up Ohio State Offense, Wins 69-57
By Andrew Neville
Northwestern used a monstrous performance from Veronica Burton and stingy defending to secure their first top-25 victory of the season versus No. 11 Ohio State Monday night.
The junior from Newton, Mass was one assist shy of a triple double as she led the ‘Cats with 20 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in the 69-57 win. Lindsey Pulliam also contributed a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Jordan Hamilton added 13 to round out the list of double digit scorers for Northwestern.
On the other side of the ball, Northwestern displayed tremendous defensive effort throughout the contest. The Wildcats were able to hold the Buckeyes well below their season average of 84.6 points per game thanks to Joe McKeown’s blizzard defense. The Northwestern defense forced 16 turnovers and held Ohio State to just 29% shooting, including 5-of-17 from three-point range.
“I thought it was our best defensive effort of the year,” McKeown said after the game. “A lot of credit to everybody on our team, they just kept working and stayed connected.”
This work lauded by McKeown was also evident inside. Despite a large size disadvantage, Northwestern was able to out rebound Ohio State 46 to 38 and outscored them in the paint, 30 to 24.
While the Wildcats never trailed in the game, the Buckeyes kept it interesting until late in the 4th quarter. After racing out to an early 28-11 lead thanks, the visitors closed the first half on a 14-4 run to close the first half and cut the deficit to seven.
Ohio State continued to trim the lead throughout the second half, ultimately pulling within a single point at 51-50 with 7:30 to go. From there, Northwestern was able to get the lead back up to five thanks to a Pulliam jumper followed by a gigantic steal and layup by Sydney Wood the next trip down the floor.
The Wildcats were not flawless in the win. They were relatively inefficient from the floor, particularly from three where they went just 1-of-12. Also, they were befuddled for much of the second quarter by an outstanding Ohio State full court press which led to a number of turnovers and let the Buckeyes back in the game.
These few deficiencies, however, were almost moot as the team did more than enough to knock off the No. 11 team in the country. It seemed like whenever the Buckeyes would threaten to take the lead or make a big run, a Wildcat would come up with a big shot to switch the momentum back to Northwestern.
The ‘Cats will look to take the momentum from this big win on the road to East Lansing on Sunday as they continue Big Ten play versus Michigan State.