For the first time in the month of February, the Ohio State women’s basketball team came away victorious.
Putting to rest its five-game losing streak, OSU defeated the Northwestern Wildcats, 71-62, Sunday, its first win since taking down Illinois Jan. 30.
OSU also sent five players out with a win in their last home on Senior Day game as Buckeyes as four seniors — centers Ashley Adams and Darryce Moore, forward Martina Ellerbe and redshirt-senior center Aleksandra Dobranic — all went out on top at the Schottenstein Center.
It was also the final game at home for redshirt-junior guard Amy Scullion, who elected to forgo her senior season to continue her education in medical school.
The Buckeyes (15-15, 5-9) came out on fire shooting 48.5 percent from the field, including five 3-pointers, en route to a 41-21 halftime lead.
“That was as good of a half that we have had in a long time,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said following the win. “We were good offensively and defensively and efficient in both ways.”
The second half however, was a different story.
OSU nearly let its lead slip away in the final minutes as the Wildcats (14-13, 4-10) trimmed a 24-point, second-half Buckeye lead down to five with 53 seconds remaining.
“Our concentration really lacked at times in the second half,” McGuff said. “We got good shots … but we did not make them.”
Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said if his team could have played the whole game the way they did in the second half, they would have had a chance to win the game.
“We just buried ourselves in the first half,” McKeown said. “We tried to keep fighting back and we (needed a) third 20-minute period but it is a 40-minute game.”
OSU was led by sophomore guard Ameryst Alston who scored 18 of her game-high 30 points in the first half hitting 7-9 from the field.
It was the second straight 30-point game for Alston, who scored 31 points in OSU’s 67-59 loss against No. 17 Nebraska Thursday.
Despite her impressive performance, Alston said she, like most of the team, was focused on sending the seniors out with a win.
“The seniors were most important,” Alston said. “Obviously we focused on the game but we really wanted to get that win and make the seniors go out right.”
The five Buckeye seniors, who were honored prior to the start of the game, combined for 26 points including 13 from Ellerbe who said she could not believe it was her last game in the Schottenstein Center.
“It was really emotional,” Ellerbe said. “It has been four years that we have played here and we have had tremendous support from everybody … to know that this is the last game that we are going to have in this gym, it was like a crazy thought.”
With the home schedule concluded, McGuff made a point to thank fans in postgame interviews for their support.
“We had a lot of great support this year from our fans,” McGuff said. “With a new head coach and a new staff, I am really appreciative of the fans embracing what we have done and what we are trying to do.”
The Buckeyes are set to return to action Thursday against the Iowa Hawkeyes (21-7, 9-5) in Iowa City, Iowa. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.