Buckeyes Fall to Northwestern
By Tony Gerdeman
Northwestern's Amy Jaeschke scored 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds in leading her Northwestern Wildcats (16-8, 5-6) to a 74-68 victory over the Buckeyes (13-9, 4-6) at Value City Arena on Sunday.
Needing to put together a string of wins in order to gain a bid into the NCAA Tournament, the Buckeyes just weren't able to get it done. Northwestern never gave in despite a triple-double from Samantha Prahalis (13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists).
The first half was close throughout, with no team leading by more than four points. There were six ties and twelve lead changes as well.
The Buckeyes started strong with their twin tower tandem of Jantel Lavender and Ashley Adams scoring eight of the team's first ten points, but Northwestern answered quickly with three three-pointers in the first five minutes of the game.
Despite shooting 57.2% from the field and holding the Wildcats to just 40.6%, the Buckeyes only led by two points at the half. It was not a good sign.
Ohio State then started the second half with a 5-0 run, and even built a 52-44 lead with 13:05 remaining in the game. Northwestern then went on a 25-3 run over the next eleven minutes to build a 69-55 lead before the Buckeyes hit some desperation three-pointers in the final minutes to make it an eventual six-point loss.
After twelve lead changes and six ties in the first half, there was only one tie and one lead change in the second half. Once the Wildcats grabbed the lead, they never thought about giving it back. They just built on it.
The Buckeyes were seemingly powerless to stop the Northwestern run. The second half collapse wasn't exactly new for Ohio State. Head coach Jim Foster attempted to explain what happened.
“They imposed their will on us and we did not defend it,” he said.
"We let them do what they wanted to do and needed to do, and we didn’t fight through it. We aren’t a team that fights through adversity and that’s how you win games. They did what they wanted to do and we let them do it.”
“This team has not been able to weather the storms. Basketball is a game of stops. Stops are an integral part. In all of these games there is a point where we just don’t get stops. Then our offense will try to play quickly and that’s counterproductive.”
Lavender, who scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, didn't disagree with her coach, and frankly, how could she?
“We don’t compete well when we get down,” she explained. “Teams are just coming at us and we’re not responding.”
In what was a back-and-forth game for the first half, and decidedly not for the second half, Northwestern coach Joe McKeown broke it down rather succinctly.
“It was a game of runs, he said. “Fortunately, we had the last run.”
The loss drops the Buckeyes to 4-6 in the conference, which puts them in eighth place.
Up next for Ohio State is a game at Nationwide Arena on Thursday February 10 against the Purdue Boilermakers, who are 16-8 and 6-5 in conference play.
Game Play by Play
Team Stats Year to Date
• Ohio State is 137-13 at home overall under Jim Foster and 110-9 since the start of 2004-05.
• For the sixth game of the season, Ohio State’s FG percentage was 50 percent or better. It was the first time this season Ohio State lost when shooting better than 50 percent (6-1).
• The Buckeyes were 54.5 percent from behind the arc, the second time this season Ohio State shot better than 50 percent from the 3-point line. The last time was vs. Michigan (52.4) Jan. 27.
• It is just the Buckeyes’ second loss of the season when they lead at halftime as they led Northwestern 34-32. Ohio State is 12-2 when leading at the halfway point.
• Jantel Lavender made her 124th consecutive start, tying the school record set by Katie Smith.
• Lavender is the second-leading active scorer in the nation (2,537) behind UConn’s Maya Moore
• Lavender has scored 10+ points in all 124 career games, the longest active streak in Division I.
• Samantha Prahalis recorded her first-career triple-double with 13 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. Her 10 rebounds also was a career high. Prahalis is the first Buckeye since Jessica Davenport (17 points, 10 rebounds, 11 blocks at Minnesota, Feb. 8, 2007) to achieve such a feat.
• Freshman Ashley Adams scored a career-best 18 points (9-for-13) in a career-high 38 minutes.
• Brittany Johnson needs two points to reach 900 for her career and two more 3FGs to tie Jamie Lewis for fifth all-time.
• More than 70 Ohio State women’s basketball alumni (players, coaches, managers, team staff) were in attendance at the game.
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