Jan. 17, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Sophomore Brittany Orban (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) calmly sank a free throw with four seconds on the clock to give Northwestern a 61-60 victory over Minnesota Sunday in front of a raucous crowd of 1,332 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Orban led all scorers with 14 points -- including 11 in the second stanza -- while also adding five rebounds and three assists. Northwestern (12-6, 3-4) shot a sparkling 47 percent from the field and found more than half of its points in the paint.
"Brittany has been on the floor a lot for two years now," Head Coach Joe McKeown said. "I think she works so hard on her free throws, and I think she likes that situation where the game is on the line."
Orban, who finished 4-of-6 from the charity stripe, hit a free throw with 1:23 left to deadlock the game at 60. After Minnesota came up empty on its ensuing possession, Kristin Cartwright (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) hauled down a huge offensive rebound on Northwestern's next trip down the court, and called a timeout with :28 remaining.
Coming out of the timeout, an Amy Jaeschke (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) jumper was off the mark, but Cartwright once again battled for the offensive board. With five seconds remaining, and NU with possession under its own basket, the two coaches exchanged timeouts. On the out-of-bounds play, Orban came off a screen and was fouled on the attempted layup. Her first offering was off the mark, but she calmly sunk the second, which sealed NU's 12th season victory.
The game took a fast-paced and frantic feel following tip-off, before a bucket by Minnesota settled both teams into a rhythm offensively. Northwestern acquired half of its points in the paint during the first six minutes, thanks to a couple carefully crafted and well-implemented plays, which resulted in a 13-4 NU lead with 14:33 on the clock.
Minnesota responded with an 8-0 spurt to make it a one-point game, but a triple from the corner by Kendall Hackney (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) ended Northwestern's scoring drought. The Wildcats continued to spread the court and utilize their height, using a finely-executed high-low from Dannielle Diamant (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) to Jaeschke to spark a 7-0 run and take a 25-18 lead with 7:39 on the clock.
The Gophers answered with a 9-3 run over the next four minutes to pull the game to within one, 28-27, with 3:15 left in the half. Northwestern took a 32-31 lead into the locker room. Jaeschke led all scorers at the break with eight points while Hackney added seven.
Minnesota came out of intermission with five quick points to pull ahead 36-32, but a transition layup by Orban quickly made it a one-possession affair at the 17:54 mark. Cartwright and Jaeschke turned up the intensity offensively and combined for eight of Northwestern's first 10 second-half points, all coming in the paint.
Orban stepped up and rattled off five points to give NU a 47-41 lead with 14:26 on the clock. The 'Cats continued to hold Minnesota off offensively, until a three-pointer by its leading scorer Kiara Buford pulled the game to within three, 53-50, with 8:38 remaining. The game tightened from that point forward, as neither squad held more than a three-point lead. In total, there were seven lead changes and four ties.
Jaeschke finished with 12 points and nine rebounds while also adding three blocks. Cartwright joined Jaeschke and Orban in double-figures with 12, thanks to a 5-of-9 effort from the field. The senior arguably played one of her most solid games of the season, grabbing a game-high three offensive boards.
Beth Marshall (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) turned in a career-high eight assists and added two steals.
The Wildcats are next in action on Thursday, Jan. 21 when they travel to Indiana for a 6 p.m. CT battle with the Hoosiers. The game will be streamed live on www.bigtennetwork.com.