March 22, 2010
OLEAN, N.Y. -- Northwestern fought, hustled and clawed to claim its 18th victory of the season, a 66-62 triumph, over St. Bonaventure Monday evening in the second round of the WNIT. Amy Jaeschke stepped up for the 'Cats, leading the way with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds, while chipping in five assists and five blocks. With the victory, Northwestern now advances to the round of 16 and will face Michigan at Ann Arbor on Thursday, March 25. Tip is set for 6 p.m. CT.
"It was a terrific basketball game," said head coach Joe McKeown. "We did a great job battling back in the second half when we were down seven. I think our size caught up with them and that was the difference in the game. It was a great win for us."
Northwestern exploded out of the gates, using treys from Beth Marshall and Brittany Orban on the first two possessions to hop out to an early 6-2 advantage. But St. Bonaventure, which entered the game shooting at a 46 percent clip, found its rhythm on the offensive end and composed a 9-0 run to take an 11-6 lead at the 14:45 point.
The Wildcats looked to dump the ball down low out of the first four-minute media timeout and found Jaeschke on the next two trips to pull NU to within one, 11-10. St. Bonaventure answered with a 5-0 run but a pair of free throws and a smooth drive to the bucket by Meshia Reed once again pulled NU to within a bucket, 16-14 mid-way through the first half.
Scoring remained neck-in-neck the rest of the frame, with neither team holding more than a four-point upper hand. Northwestern continued its strong perimeter play, finishing the period 4-of-9 from three-point range. In the spirit of the tight first half, St. Bonaventure nailed a trey from the top of the key with four seconds on the clock to deadlock the game at 31 at intermission. In total on the half, there were three ties and four lead changes.
Northwestern's first-half scoring told the story of a balanced offensive attack, with Jaeschke leading the way with nine points while Marshall added six and Orban and Cartwright contributed five each.
Both squads came out of the locker room on point, each connecting on their first two looks before the Bonnies strung together an 8-0 run to pull ahead, 42-35, with 17:17 left. Northwestern battled back, getting three stops on the defensive end and capitalizing on back-to-back jumpers from Jaeschke and a pull-up by Reed to make it a two-point affair with 14:04 remaining.
The two teams clawed and fought for each possession and Northwestern refused to let the Bonnies out of its sights. The game saw its fifth tie of the evening, 51-51, with five minutes on the clock. A drive to the bucket by Allison Mocchi and a lay-in by Cartwright off an inbounds play gave NU a 55-51 lead with just over four minutes remaining. After St. Bonaventure came up empty on its next possession, Dannielle Diamant drained a triple to push NU ahead, 58-51, with 3:02 left.
As it turned out, Northwestern never relinquished that lead. Every time St. Bonaventure made it a one-possession game, the Wildcats either came up with a defensive stop, or converted offensively. NU sunk 6-of-7 from the free-throw line in the final 1:38 to preserve the win. The Wildcats persevered in an extremely loud environment at the Reilly Center, where the Bonnies had only lost three times all season.