Jan. 20, 2013
Site: Champaign, Ill. (Assembly Hall)
Score: Northwestern – 62, Illinois 58
Records: NU (9-9 overall, 1-4 Big Ten), Illinois (10-8 overall, 3-3 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Thursday, Jan. 24 – at No. 12/11 Purdue – 7:30 p.m. CT – Mackey Arena – Big Ten Network (LIVE)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Northwestern played in-state rival Illinois for the second time in 11 days and picked up the 62-58 victory Sunday afternoon in Champaign. It was a close battle throughout with six lead changes and eight ties but the ’Cats broke a 58-58 tie late in the game by scoring the final four points. Freshman forward Maggie Lyon’s layup put NU ahead 60-58 with 1:32 to play and sophomore forward Alex Cohen drained two free throws with 19 seconds left to secure the victory.
Four Wildcats finished in double-figures, as senior forward Kendall Hackney
led NU with 21 points. Cohen posted her first career double-double, scoring a career-high 12 points to go with another career-best 10 rebounds. Lyon chipped in 11 points while senior forward/center Dannielle Diamant
had 13 points, including 7-of-10 from the free throw line.
Adrienne GodBold led Illinois with 21 points as she was a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line while Karisma Penn added 15 points, and was 9-of-10 from the stripe. Both players fouled out with key minutes remaining in the game.
The Illini did most of their damage scoring-wise from the free throw line, going 23-of-26. They were shooting over a 90 percent clip for most of the game before McKenzie Piper missed two in the closing 30 seconds. The NU defense limited Illinois to just 16-of-61 from the field for 26.2 percent.
NU finished 21-of-46 for 45.7 percent from the field and went 15-of-25 from the stripe, but made their final five attempts.
Northwestern jumped out to a 7-2 lead thanks to contributions on the offensive and defensive ends. After a steal and fast break opportunity by GodBold, Lauren Douglas sprinted back to block the layup and Hackney converted on the other end, giving NU the 4-2 edge and Lyon drained a 3-pointer shortly after for NU’s five-point cushion.
The Illini scored most of their points off free throws early in the game as they were just 1-9 (11.1 percent) from the field with 11:53 left in the first, but trailed by just four points (11-7). After Illinois pulled within two (11-9), NU went on an 8-0 run thanks to a steal and easy layup by sophomore guard Karly Roser and two 3-pointers from Cohen, giving NU the 19-9 lead.
Northwestern remained on top the rest of the half and took the 25-20 lead into the locker room. NU kept up its solid defensive effort in the first frame, limiting Illinois to just 7-of-29 (24.1 percent) from the field and the 20 points were a first-half low for the Illini so far this year. NU, who leads the Big Ten with 5.9 blocks per game, already had five blocks in the first, including two apiece by Douglas and Diamant.
Hackney paced all scorers with eight points as the ’Cats shot 45.5 percent (10-of-22) in the first.
Lyon drained two more 3-pointers early in the second half to maintain NU’s five-point lead at 31-26 but Illinois continued to pressure the ’Cats and eventually took the lead at 32-31 with 15:03 to play. Neither team was able to gain much separation as there were four lead changes and two ties over the next few minutes.
Illinois extended its lead to six points, (50-44) again by getting to the charity stripe. At that point in the game, Illinois was 17-of-18 from the free throw line (94.4 percent) while NU was just 5-of-11.
NU stayed in the game and scored six unanswered points off buckets by Hackney and Roser and two free throws by Cohen to once again tie things up at 50-50 with 7:24 remaining. GoldBold went back to the line, draining four more free throws giving Illinois another four-point lead (54-50).
Illinois then played the remainder of the game without their leading scorer and rebounder this year as Penn fouled out with 5:25 to play. Penn fouled Hackney while she was shooting a 3-pointer but the NU senior went 1-of-3 from the line, putting the score at 54-51 in favor of the Illini.
NU tied things up once again at 56-56 but GodBold went back to the line for two more, converting her 10th and 11th free throws of the game giving Illinois the 58-56 lead.
That would be the final Illini points of the game as GodBold fouled out with two minutes left. NU took advantage as Lyon scored a clutch layup, putting the ’Cats back on top 60-58 and Cohen iced the NU victory with her two free throws.
Northwestern head back out on the road, playing No. 12/11 Purdue Thursday at Mackey Arena in West Lafyette, Ind. Thursday’s game is set for a 7:30 p.m. CT tip and it will air live on the Big Ten Network.
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