Jan. 9, 2011
Site: Champaign, Ill. (Assembly Hall)
Score: Northwestern 69, Illinois 66 (OT)
Records: NU (13-4, 2-2 Big Ten), Illinois (6-10, 1-3 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Thursday, Jan. 13 -- vs. Ohio State (Welsh-Ryan Arena), 7 p.m.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- In a game that saw 10 lead changes, eight ties and overtime, Northwestern gutted out a 69-66 victory against Illinois at Assembly Hall Sunday afternoon. Beth Marshall stepped up with a triple as the regulation horn sounded, sending the game into overtime where NU converted on 7-of-8 from the free throw line to earn its 13th victory of the season.
Sunday marks the first time the Wildcats (13-4, 2-2) have defeated Illinois since the 1998-99 season.
"It was a hard-fought game and an unbelievable shot by [Beth] Marshall," head coach Joe McKeown said. "Illinois played hard down the stretch, but I thought we did a good job carrying the momentum of Beth's three into overtime. It's one of those games where you're glad you get the 'W' because it could have gone either way about eight or nine times."
On defense, Northwestern held Illinois' leading scorer, Karisma Penn, to just eight points while at the other end pulling down an exceptional 23 offensive rebounds that produced 21 second-chance points. Amy Jaeschke notched her fifth 30-point effort of the season, turning in 30 points, seven boards and five swats in 43 minutes.
The game took a disorganized pace at the onset as neither team could muster a shooting clip above a 30 percent through the first six minutes. Jaeschke opened the scoring with a 12-foot jumper three minutes in, a boost the Wildcats used to build a 6-0 lead. Illinois quickly gained its footing, tying the game at eight with 14 minutes remaining.
The two teams kept pace with each other over the next nine minutes until a three by Marshall finally gave Northwestern a 22-15 cushion with five minutes remaining in the frame. The Fighting Illini responded with an 11-1 run to take a 26-23 lead at the 3:12 mark of the half.
A pair of Jaeschke free throws -- two of her game-leading 18 points at the break -- gave NU a 29-28 edge heading into intermission.
Northwestern forced three Illini miscues and posted six points to establish momentum in the opening four minutes while taking a 35-28 edge. The Wildcats continued to force the issue, thanks to six offensive rebounds in the first six minutes, to outscore Illinois 10-4 at the start of the half.
Illinois composed an 8-0 run to take the game once again to a familiar place -- a 39-39 tie. In total, the second half alone saw eight ties and seven lead changes. After back-to-back triples on both ends, Northwestern ran off seven unanswered points to take a 49-42 upper hand with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Illinois slowly got the crowd back into the game, stringing together an 11-4 spurt to tie the game at 53 with four minutes left.
The Fighting Illini took a 59-55 lead with 1:18 left, but a pair of free throws from Jaeschke once again made it a one-possession game. Northwestern forced turnovers on both of Illinois' ensuing possessions, but could not convert on the offensive end. Illinois' Lydia McCully made one free throw with after being fouled with six ticks left on the clock. But a Marshall 3-pointer from the elbow extended as the horn sounded sent the game into overtime, NU's first such game of the season.
The Wildcats were the aggressors in the extra session, getting to the basket and making 7-of-8 shots from the charity stripe to preserve the victory.
Brittany Orban was exceptional on the glass, pulling down 13 rebounds -- nine of the offensive variety -- while scoring eight points. Marshall added 12 points and five assists.
The Wildcats are next in action at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13, when they welcome Ohio State to Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook! and subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter to receive the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!