March 6, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS -- Northwestern played Ohio State close for the entire 40 minutes Thursday in the first round of the 2014 Big Ten Tournament. After 12 ties and seven lead changes, the Buckeyes emerged the 86-77 victors.
Maggie Lyon finished with a team-high 23 points while Nia Coffey recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Lauren Douglas chipped in 15 points off the bench and Karly Roser had 11 points, six assists, six rebounds and two steals in 28 minutes off the bench.
Ohio State went ahead 9-2 early but Northwestern chipped away at the lead thanks to strong play by Douglas and Roser off the bench. Douglas scored immediately after entering the game and Roser went 1-of-2 from the free throw line but snagged the offensive board on the miss and assisted on a Christen Inman floater in the lane to cut OSU's lead down to three (12-9). That duo worked together again as Roser assisted on a baseline jumper by Inman, cutting the OSU lead to one.
Roser continued to stay productive for the Wildcats and scored back-to-back buckets in the lane to tie things up at 19-19 with 8:46 left in the first. At that point in the game, Roser had seven points, two rebounds, three assists and a steal in just six minutes of playing time.
The Buckeyes caught fire from 3-point range to go back up by double-digits, but the Wildcats stayed close thanks to quality free throw shooting and rebounding. NU was 11-of-12 from the free throw line with 3:40 remaining while OSU had just four free throw attempts. The Wildcats also moved the ball well early with eight assists on nine field goals, including Roser's third of the game which set up a Lyon 3-pointer to put the score at 35-30 in favor of OSU.
Lyon kept clicking on offense for the Wildcats and scored the next two buckets while Inman added another jumper in the lane to give NU its first lead since early in the game at 36-35 with under a minute to play in the half. Coffey then put the 'Cats up 39-35 heading into halftime as her 3-pointer bounced in just before the buzzer. That capped off a 16-0 Northwestern run to end the half.
Lyon led NU with 11 points in the first while Roser had nine points off the bench along with four assists, four rebounds and two steals. NU dominated on points in the paint, 18-8 and had the 6-0 advantage on fast break points. The Wildcats were 13-of-31 from the field for 41.9 percent while OSU was just 12-of-36 for 33.3 percent. The Buckeyes did some damage from long-distance, draining seven 3-pointers in the first. Ameryst Alston led OSU with 10 points.
Ohio State tied things up early in the second but a bucket by Coffey put NU back on top 45-43 and gave her double figures (11 points) to go along with nine rebounds with about 15 minutes to play. For the next few minutes it was a back-and-forth battle with each team trading leads or tying things up until OSU took the 61-56 lead with 7:06 remaining.
Northwestern scored five straight, as Lyon hit a 3-pointer and Douglas added another bucket, to tie the game for the ninth time at 61-61 with 5:46 left. A 3-pointer by Douglas gave NU the 64-63 edge but OSU drained another from long distance to go back on top 66-64. Not to be outdone, Lyon sunk her third 3-pointer of the game to put NU back up 67-66 and reach 21 points for the game, but OSU came back once again as Darryce Moore completed a three-point play to give OSU the 69-67 cushion with less than four minutes to play.
The Wildcats kept fighting and responded every time OSU went ahead as there were a few more ties in the ensuing minutes. Lyon knotted things up at 73-73 for the 12th tie of the game but the Buckeyes scored seven straight to take the 80-73 lead with less than a minute to play. NU kept fighting as Douglas cut the lead to five (80-75) and two by Coffey in the paint put the score at 82-77 OSU with 38.3 seconds left. The Buckeyes drained their free throws down the stretch and hung on for the 86-77 victory.
Alston finished with a game-high 30 points for Ohio State. The Buckeyes finished the game with 11 3-pointers.
With a 15-15 record, the Wildcats are eligible for postseason play. NU will find out its postseason possibilities in the coming days as the WNIT makes its selections on Monday, March 17.
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