Evanston, Ill. — Kelsey Mitchell scored 33 points to help No. 11 Ohio State advance to 3-0 on the season in Big Ten play after beating Northwestern, 94-87.
Just 39 seconds into the game, Northwestern senior guard, Ashley Deary, made history and became the Big Ten all-time steals leader. She broke the previous record of 372 steals, which she tied on Dec. 31 against Purdue. Deary finished the night with a near triple-double of 10 points and 14 assists to go with her six thefts.
Both teams tested long range shots with 56 total three-point attempts. The Wildcats made 12 of their attempted 27 and the Buckeyes sunk 13 of their 29 attempts.
“I knew we had to make some shots from the perimeter,” said Ohio State Head Coach Kevin McGuff. “They do such a great job with their zone. They don’t make it easy to score at the basket.”
Northwestern’s Nia Coffey had 10 points at the 6:46 mark in the second quarter making it 64 games in a row she has scored in double-figures.
Northwestern came within two, 44-42, with 1:20 left to play before the half but Ohio State went on a 10-0 tear to close out the first half on top, 54-42.
After the 10-0 run by Ohio State, Northwestern was “more cautious of [Ohio State’s] shooters,” Deary noted.
The Buckeyes struggled to post points in the third quarter after not scoring for 3:48 while the Wildcats chipped away at their deficit scoring eight points including Abi Scheid’s back-to-back three-pointers — who finished a perfect 7-7 from the field — and a blocked shot bringing Northwestern momentum.
“Whoever is open, we just need to get them the ball,” Scheid said, who finished with a career-high 20 points. “We need to get good shots and not force shots.”
Northwestern’s defense was able to hold Ohio State to just 14 points in the third period while their offense scored 21 points to finish the third trailing by five, 68-63.
The Buckeyes offense settled in the fourth quarter, scoring 26 points. Northwestern was able to bring the game within five points yet again, 92-87, with 33.2 seconds left.
Coffey was called for her fifth foul soon after and Ohio State was able to seal the victory, 94-87, and remain unbeaten in Big Ten action.
Ohio State’s defense held Coffey to 22 points, keeping her four points away from being the fifth Big Ten player all-time to record 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. Coffey also grabbed 13 rebounds to go with her 20+ scoring night.
“Ohio State is relentless in how they come at you offensively and defensively,” said Northwestern Head Coach Joe McKeown. “The level that people played at tonight, it was fun to watch. It was a hard-fought Big Ten game.”