INDIANAPOLIS – Ameryst Alston scored 30 points as eighth-seeded Ohio State pulled away in the closing minutes Thursday to defeat ninth-seeded Northwestern 86-77 in the opening game of the Big 10 Tournament.
Alston, who finished one point shy of matching her career-high, broke a 73-73 tie with a layup with 1:53 to play. Martina Ellerbe followed with a steal that was turned into her 3-pointer at the 1:24 mark and, after a Northwestern miss, Alston made two free throws for an 80-72 lead with 51 seconds remaining.
Ellerbe finished with 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Buckeyes (16-17), who face top-seeded and 11th-ranked Penn State (22-6) on Friday. Darryce Moore added 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Maggie Lyon led Northwestern (15-15) with 25 points. Nia Coffey had 19 with 11 rebounds, and Lauren Douglas had 15 points.