Dec. 3, 2011
Site: Columbia, Mo. (Mizzou Arena)
Score: Northwestern 74, Missouri 70
Records: NU (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten), Missouri (5-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Dec. 10 -- at Loyola (Chicago, Ill.) 2 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Junior Dannielle Diamant hit 10-of-10 from the free throw line in the final 1:15 to seal a 74-70 victory over Missouri Saturday afternoon as part of the Big 12/Big Ten Challenge. Diamant's performance was complimented by a season-high 11 three-pointers including three from Morgan Jones. With the victory, the Wildcats remain unbeaten on the road and improve to 6-1 overall.
"I thought it was a physical game on both ends of the court," head coach Joe McKeown said after the game. "Missouri had a great, loud crowd but I was proud of the way we handled it and I'm proud of Dannielle for sinking the free throws down the stretch. I think it was a good college basketball game, but a little sloppy at times."
Kendall Hackney led the Wildcats with a season-high 20 points, while Diamant added 18 and Jones chipped in 11.
Northwestern had its opportunities early, but couldn't convert, allowing Missouri to build a 12-7 advantage through the first eight minutes of the contest. After being held scoreless for a five-minute span, a Meghan McKeown triple sparked a 9-2 Wildcat run and gave NU a 16-14 edge halfway through the opening frame.
Missouri got the crowd involved as it capitalized on four NU miscues and posted the game's next 10 points to seize a 24-16 lead with 6:43 left. The Wildcats held strong through the run, and a pair of free throws from Allison Mocchi quenched another five-minute Wildcat drought, and sparked a 6-0 spurt, pulling NU to within a bucket with 4:34 remaining in the half. Mocchi went on to score a season-high nine points, while recording four assists and four steals.
The Tigers rattled off five-straight points, but Northwestern responded with six-straight points to end the half and lock the halftime score at 31-30 in favor of the home team. Hackney led all scorers with 12 points on 5-of-9 from the field, including a pair of threes.
Northwestern found its way to the scoreboard first, and went on a 9-5 run to take a 39-36 lead just two minutes into the stanza. Mizzou responded with seven of the game's next nine points to take a 46-41 edge with 14:21 remaining. Both teams found themselves in the bonus early in the second half.
Neither team could build more than a five-point lead until a pair of free throws by Mizzou's Breanna Brock made it a two-possession affair mid-way through the half.
A deep triple by Morgan Jones made it a one-possession game, 57-54, with just under seven minutes remaining. Northwestern outscored Missouri 13-4 over a six-minute span to claim a 62-61 lead with two minutes left. Hackney tacked on another bucket to give NU a three-point advantage, and a pair of free throws from Diamant pushed the lead to five with 1:16 left.
Missouri added a bucket with 43 seconds left, but another round of free throws by Diamant once again set the difference at five with 38 ticks left. Diamant sunk four more from the line to answer every Missouri score on the other end, until a three-pointer by the Tigers' Kyley Simmons with 11 seconds left made it a 72-70 ballgame. Northwestern once again delivered the ball to the hands of its best free-throw shooter and Diamant once again sunk a pair, making her a perfect 10-of-10 from the stripe, and cementing the 'Cats' win.
Northwestern is next in action at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, when it takes a short bus ride down Sheridan Road for a showdown with Loyola.
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