Feb. 6, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- It came down to the last seconds Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena with another close Big Ten contest featuring the Wildcats and Wolverines. After a second half turnaround, Northwestern fought until the final buzzer, but were unable to come out on top as Michigan took the 70-68 win.
Maggie Lyon had another strong performance for the Wildcats, posting 16 points, along with five assists, five rebounds and two steals. Christen Inman and Ashley Deary also contributed double-digit points with 14 and 10, respectively. Deary drained a clutch 3-pointer, NU's 12th of the game, late to tie things up at 68-68 with 28 seconds left and had a chance to win it in for the Wildcats with a last-second shot.
Devon Brookshire, Meghan McKeown and Karly Roser all contributed valuable minutes for the Wildcats, helping them spark a comeback in which they were down by as many as 14 in the first half.
The Wildcats struggled at the outset of the first half, unable to quell the visiting team. Michigan forward Cyesha Goree led the Wolverines in scoring with 10 points early, but it was a jumper by guard Madison Ristovski at 9:26 that opened up a 14-point lead.
A pair of NU captains helped the Wildcats climb back in as junior captain Karly Roser dished a nice pass for an easy bucket by Lyon then on the next possession, Roser stole the ball at halfcourt and took it the distance for the score. McKeown sunk her second 3-pointer of the game shortly after, putting NU within six (27-21) with 6:26 left in the frame.
The Wildcats continued to stay hot from 3-point range as Brookshire, Lyon and Inman each drained one from long-distance in the ensuing minutes, keeping Northwestern within three points. Michigan scored the final two buckets of the half to take the 37-30 lead into halftime.
Both teams were better than 50 percent from the field in the first as Michigan went 15-of-27 for 55.6 percent while NU was 12-of-23 for 52.2 percent. NU drained 6 of its 10 3-pointers while the Wolverines were just 1-for-5. Michigan controlled points in the paint 18-6 and points off turnovers 16-5.
Northwestern turned the game around at the outset of the second. A steal and bucket by Lyon at 17:25 tied the game and forced the Wolverines into a timeout. Inman grabbed two points at the free throw line and Cohen added another 3-pointer with a bucket of her own to bring the Wildcats their first lead of the game (41-40) since early in the opening frame. The visiting team was close on Northwestern's heels scoring two 3-pointers before Nia Coffey responded with her first triple of the night.
Lyon continued to have a strong performance for the Wildcats draining a 3-pointer, then forced a Michigan turnover and took the ball the length of the court to put Northwestern ahead 49-46. Then it was Michigan's turn to score from long-distance as Siera Thompson hit three-straight 3-pointers, giving the Wolverines the 57-52 advantage with 9:14 remaining.
Michigan continued to maintain its lead, but never went ahead by more than six points. With 3:08 remaining, Deary drained a 3-pointer, NU's 10th of the game, to put the score at 63-60.
With just 3:01 left in the game Lauren Douglas converted two from the free throw line to bring the visiting team's lead down to one. The matchup came down to the wire as the clock ran down and the teams went nearly shot for shot. A Deary 3-pointer tied up the game at 68-68 with just 28 seconds left.
Michigan had possession and Lyon was whistled for a foul in the closing seconds, sending Thompson to the line. She drained both free throws and with no timeouts left, Deary took the ball the length of the court and had a layup opportunity but it just missed before the final buzzer, giving Michigan the narrow victory.
Thompson finished with a game-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers. As a team, Michigan shot 50.9 percent from the field while NU wasn't far behind at 48.1 percent, including 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) from long-distance.
Northwestern hits the road for a Monday showdown in Iowa City that will air live on the Big Ten Network. Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10 against the Hawkeyes.
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