EVANSTON, Ill. -- When Ohio State stepped on the gas, it left Northwestern in the dust.
The Buckeyes (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) set the tone with an 18-4 run in the first half and Star Allen scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half to lift Ohio State to its 13th straight win with a 66-42 victory over the Wildcats on Thursday night.
"We wanted to push it," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "We wanted to get up the floor. By upping the tempo, we could get some separation."
Ohio State (20-1, 9-0) is off to the best start in program history and has 26 consecutive wins against conference opponents. Foster now has five straight 20-win seasons.
The Buckeyes held Northwestern (6-17, 0-10) to 30.2 percent shooting in sending the Wildcats to their 16th consecutive loss.
Allen, a sophomore forward, was 8-of-11 from the field and grabbed 15 rebounds. Brandie Hoskins and Jessica Davenport each added 12 points for Ohio State.
Kristen Cartwright scored 12 points and Kaitlin McInerney had 10 points for Northwestern.
Hoskins, Marscilla Packer and Shavelle Little got the Buckeyes' first-half run started on the defensive end, starting fast breaks with steals and generally disrupting the Wildcats.
During the burst, which lasted more than 9 minutes, Ohio State held Northwestern to 2-of-9 shooting.
Ohio State limited the Wildcats to 9-of-33 shooting from the field in the first half, went ahead by as many as 21 and led 36-20 at halftime.
"It was a matter of turning up the intensity," Allen said. "We had to get our energy together."
The Wildcats were 1-of-9 from the foul line.
"We have to make a play," Northwestern coach Beth Combs said. "We shot the ball 14 more times than them. When you have that many second-chance opportunities, when you get opportunities against a team like that, you have to make a play."