Looking For No. 2 (Women’s Basketball)

Matt Baker

By Matt BakerThe Daily Northwestern

With a three-point win last Sunday over Penn State, Northwestern passed a series of milestones. The Wildcats’ first win since Dec. 1 was their first Big Ten victory on the season and snapped the longest single-season losing streak in NU history.

The team’s seventh victory of the season surpassed the win total for all of last year, and players celebrated at half-court and compared the feeling to that of winning a championship.

But NU faces a tough foe for an encore.

The Cats play at No. 24 Michigan State tonight to try to knock off their first top-25 opponent in more than two years.

“We’re pretty high on our win still because we had been waiting for it for a long time,” freshman forward Kaitlin McInerney said. “We know we can play with Michigan State. We know it’s going to be a battle.”

NU jumped out to an early 11-2 lead against Michigan State when the two played in Evanston last week, but the Spartans opened the second half on an 11-0 run to take an 18-point lead.

The Cats fought back, cutting the deficit to two with two minutes left, but Michigan State hung on for a seven-point win.

Senior A.J. Glasauer said NU’s lack of confidence contributed to its 22-percent shooting from the field in their last game against the Spartans.

But the Cats exorcised their shooting demons and now trust each other after finally earning another win.

“The main aspect is the confidence we’ve gained,” Glasauer said. “If you don’t believe in yourselves and the rest of the team, it’s really hard to win against teams like that.

“But we know we can go there and that we can play with them. It’s a really good feeling.”

McInerney led the Cats last week, dropping 15 points on Michigan State’s 6-foot-9 center Allyssa DeHaan.

The NU freshman said the Cats need to bring the same underdog attitude they had last week if they hope to earn their first conference win on the road this season.

“They probably weren’t expecting a close game,” McInerney said. “They were supposed to beat us by a lot more than what they did. But we just played like we had nothing to lose.”

Despite earning their biggest win of the season Sunday, the Cats are still hungry for another victory.

As her career at NU nears the finish line, Glasauer said a road victory over a nationally ranked opponent would be a good send-off and give the team momentum for the last few games of the season.

“Every game means so much to me now because I know I don’t have a lot of them left,” Glasauer said. “A win would be great closure for me and great experience for them going into next year. My teammates deserve it.”

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