Wildcats lose third straight push for Big Ten Tournament

By Nader Ihmoud

The Northwestern University Wildcats’ women’s basketball team ended its regular season on a three game skid, after losing to the Michigan State University Spartans 76-57 at Welsh Ryan Arena, 2705 Ashland Ave., on Feb 26.

The Wildcats’ freshman guard Morgan Jones didn’t start for only the second time this season, but played her usual 32 minutes. Northwestern was held to 28 percent from the field and was outscored 43-28 in the second half.

The Wildcats kept the game within reach, trailing by only four points after one half of play, but MSU started the second half on a 12-2 run and went on to outscore them 27-10 in the first 12 minutes of the second half.

“[The Spartans] are quick off the dribble and then finds open people,” Northwestern Head Coach Joe Mckeown said. “We had a hard time with the pace.”

McKeown blamed the collapse on his team’s bad transition defense. He thought the game was pretty even until the Spartans went on a run early in the first half.

Trailing by 21 points with eight minutes remaining, the Wildcats turned up the tempo and the team went on a run of its own, cutting the Spartans’ lead down to nine points. MSU buckled down after its lead was cut down to nine, only allowing four points during the final four minutes of regulation.

The Spartans victory put them in a virtual tie with three other schools for second place in the Big Ten Conference.

MSU forward Lykendra Johnson recorded her 1,000th rebound of her college career.

Northwestern heads into the Big Ten Tournament with a 14-15 overall record and a 4-12 conference record. McKeown said his team has nothing to lose headed into the postseason.

“The Big Ten Tournament for us, when you look at the league, is wide open in that everybody can beat everybody on a given night,” McKeown said.

The 11th seeded Wildcats take on the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers on March 1 at in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. Northwestern’s last victory was on the road against Nebraska 63-51 on Feb. 16.