Jan. 28, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Seven ties and four lead changes told the story of gritty performance by both teams, but when the final horn sounded, Michigan State held a 56-52 advantage Thursday evening at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Meshia Reed (Country Club Hills, Ill./Stockbridge (Ga.)) contributed a season-high 13 points off the bench, including 11 in the second half, while Kendall Hackney (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) and Amy Jaeschke (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) chipped in 11 points each.
"I thought our team played with tremendous heart and character against a very hard team," Head Coach Joe McKeown said after the game. "I was very proud of our team."
Michigan State sprinted out to an early 10-2 lead, but Northwestern rattled off six unanswered points to set the difference at two at the 14:16 mark. The Spartans' Kalisha Keane responded to NU's run with five of MSU's next eight points, making it an eight-point affair mid-way through the first half.
The two teams traded baskets over the next six minutes until a turnaround jumper by Kendall Hackney (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) sparked an 8-0 Wildcat run which, deadlocked the game at 22 with 4:11 remaining.
Coming out of the under-four minute media timeout, Michigan State composed a 6-0 run until a three-pointer from Hackney with :21 left in the half slashed the difference in half and made it a one-point MSU lead heading into the locker room.
Jaeschke, battling all night down low, gave NU eight first-half points and three rebounds while Hackney turned in a solid seven-point, four carom effort.
Two free-bees by Hackney to open the second half gave the 'Cats their first lead of the game. Back-to-back buckets by Meshia Reed (Country Club Hills, Ill./Stockbridge (Ga.)) spurred a 6-0 Northwestern run and yielded the home team's largest lead of the game to date, a 33-28 score.
Possessions were evenly matched over the next two and a half minutes until back-to-back buckets by Kristin Cartwright (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) once again produced a five-point cushion. Thirty seconds later, a free throw by Jaeschke gave the 'Cats a 38-32 lead with 13:21 on the clock.
Once again, Michigan State responded. The Spartans composed a 9-0 run to tie the game, the fourth tie of the affair. Neither team allowed the other out of its crosshairs long enough to build more than a four-point until two free throws by Brittany Thomas with :27 seconds left gave MSU a six-point lead.
A trey on the other end by Brittany Orban (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) made it a single-possession game with :21 remaining. Northwestern was forced to foul, and Allyssa DeHaan made one free throw, but the Wildcats could not come up with an offensive make.
The Wildcats are next in action Sunday afternoon when they travel to Madison for a showdown with the Badgers. Tip is set for 4 p.m. and will be carried live on the Big Ten Network.