Jan. 31, 2013
NU vs. MSU Box Score
WATCH: Game Highlights | Postgame Press Conference
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: (RV/--) Michigan State - 67, Northwestern - 62
Records: NU (10-11 Overall, 2-6 Big Ten), Michigan State (17-4 Overall, 5-3 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Sunday, Feb. 3, 1 p.m. - at No. 24/25 Iowa - Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern fought a hard battle against the Michigan State Spartans Thursday at Welsh-Ryan Arena, but was unable to come out on top in the 67-62 MSU victory. The 'Cats played the Spartans, who came into Thursday's game receiving votes in the latest Associated Press poll, close as there were five ties and nine lead changes.
"(It was) a tale of two halves," Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown said. "We played really hard tonight against probably the best defensive team in the league. Our players were ready to play tonight offensively. We shared the ball and got to the foul line and didn't do a very good job; we've got to do a better job at the foul line. I felt like we executed in the first half, but in the last five minutes we broke down and didn't get the shots we wanted."
Senior center Dannielle Diamant was the night's top scorer with 21 points, two off her career high, seven rebounds and three blocks. Freshman forward Maggie Lyon saw 11 points, a career-high tying four steals and four rebounds. Senior forward Kendall Hackney added 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The `Cats started off hot with a 3-point shot from Lyon a mere 20 seconds into the first. Within the next four minutes NU scored seven more, putting them on a 10-0 run. Michigan State struggled to get on the board, submitting to five turnovers before a bucket by sophomore forward Becca Mills put them on the board at the 16:08 mark. Northwestern played lock-down defense, keeping the Spartans to just 22.2 percent from the field.
With 11:26 left in the first a layup by Michigan State center Jasmine Hines began Michigan's State slow catch up. The Spartans took a one-point lead before sophomore guard Karly Roser answered with a bucket of her own. From then, both teams alternated with the lead.
The game took on a more aggressive note as MSU picked up its defensive game. The game was tied four times, including at 20-20 before Northwestern regained control with sophomore forward Alex Cohen scoring a bucket and a three within two minutes. That sparked a 12-6 run by the 'Cats to close the half as NU took the 32-26 lead into halftime. Diamant led the team with 11 points and three rebounds. Lyon had seven points and four rebounds.
NU was an impressive 50 percent from the field (10-of-20) and 80 percent from 3-point range (4-of-5) while the Spartans converted just 9-of-30 field goals in the opening stanza for 30.0 percent.
Lyon came into the second half with the same intensity as she did the first, shooting a layup that widened the `Cats lead to eight points. The Spartans chipped away at that lead and came within one point of the `Cats, but they faced foul trouble as Mills and Hines both had four. Northwestern brought its lead back up to six, but the Spartans stayed in it and eventually took over the lead at 49-48 with 7:36 to play.
The final two minutes of the game were down to the wire as Northwestern fought to close a five-point gap. With 13.1 seconds left Douglas shot a clutch 3-pointer, putting the score at 65-62 in favor of the Spartans, but MSU made its free throws down the stretch to secure the 67-62 victory.
Northwestern faces off against No. 24/25 Iowa on the road Sunday. Tip-off is set for 1:00 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
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