Feb. 1, 2006
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Michigan State Game Notes
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern begins the month of February at home, hosting No. 17/17 Michigan State in a 7 p.m. tip on Thursday evening.
The Wildcats are coming off a successful week of basketball, recording its first conference win of the season, a 77-57 victory on the road against Michigan. The Wildcats followed up that effort with a solid performance in a 71-63 road loss against No. 8 Purdue. NU became the first Big Ten team to score 60 points on the league-leading Boilermakers. No. 16 Michigan State also went 1-1 last week, losing to Purdue at Mackey Arena, 73-53 on Thursday before defeating Indiana at home, 65-59.
"We feel good coming off two strong road games," said head coach Beth Combs. "Michigan State is a great team, but I am confident in our team right now and we will continue to move forward as a program."
Last Time Out
Northwestern's heart and effort was there, but No. 8 Purdue hit shots when it needed to and edged the Wildcats, 71-63 Sunday afternoon at Mackey Arena. Junior A.J. Glasauer led the Wildcats as she matched a career-best 26 points.
"It was great for our program to come in and finish the way we did," said head coach Beth Combs.
Northwestern became the first Big Ten team this season to score 60 points against the league-leading Boilers, and just the third to accomplish that feat all season.
Purdue jumped out to a 21-12 lead before Northwestern pulled the score to 27-25 at the half, going on a 9-2 run to close out the opening period. The two teams combined for 29 turnovers in the first half, and Northwestern converted 15 Boiler miscues into 15 points. The Wildcats out-rebounded the taller Purdue squad, 15-13.
The Wildcats opened the half with a couple of buckets, tying the score at 29 two minutes into the second stanza. The Boilermakers extended the lead to seven, but a three-pointer by Glasauer at the 14:53 mark cut the lead to 38-34.
Northwestern continued to apply defensive pressure and kept Purdue's lead to single digits until the seven-minute mark when the Boilers pulled away with the aid of an 11-2 run. The teams exchanged baskets over the next five minutes until NU cut the lead to eight, locking the final score at 71-63.
Ifeoma Okonkwo recorded her 11th double-figure game of the season with 17 points. She also added a team-high six rebounds. Nadia Bibbs had a team-high five assists. Sara Stutz chipped in a career-best five steals.
Northwestern continued its solid free-throw shooting, connecting on 82 percent (14-of-17) compared to Purdue's 69 percent from the line.
Scouting Michigan State
Michigan State went 1-1 last week, losing to Purdue at Mackey Arena, 73-53 on Thursday before defeating Indiana at home, 65-59. The Spartans are led by senior All-America candidate Liz Shimek, who is third in the Big Ten in scoring (18.6 ppg) and second in rebounding (8.7 rpg). The forward is also first in the conference in offensive rebounds (3.6 pg) and fifth in field-goal percentage (55.7). br>
Thursday's game will be the 48th meeting between these two teams. The Spartans hold a slight 25-22 advantage in the all-time series. Michigan State has won the past four contests. In games played in Evanston, the Wildcats hold a 16-9 edge.
On the Offensive
The Wildcats have stepped up the offensive production over the past two games, averaging 70 points per game compared to 52.5 ppg over the first six conference contests. For more notes, see the game notes in pdf format at the top of this release.