Seniors Play Crucial Role In Home Finale (Women’s Basketball)

Matt Baker

By Matt BakerThe Daily Northwestern

After Northwestern’s 14-point lead had dwindled to six with less than a minute left, the Wildcats looked to senior A.J. Glasauer to seal Sunday’s win over Michigan. Glasauer had dominated the game early with 14 first-half points.

But with NU’s second Big Ten win of the season on the line, the team’s senior captain, playing in her last home game, gave up the ball. She passed on the big shot and put the game in the hands of part of NU’s future, freshman Beth Marshall, who drilled a wide-open 3 in the corner to give the Cats a nine-point lead and the game.

On a senior day when NU honored Glasauer and Holly Palin before the game, coach Beth Combs said Marshall’s shot shows how bright the Cats’ future looks.

“That’s a big-time 3, and that’s a big-time shot to take by a freshman,” Combs said. “She had no doubts she was taking or making that shot. We needed that, and the future for our program looks amazing.”

Glasauer opened the game with jitters as she played in front of her father for the first time in seven years. She committed two first-half turnovers and missed a lay-up on her first shot. Palin, who notched her second career start, grabbed her sixth rebound of the year off of the miss.

“I wanted to play good for my team because it’s the last time I’ll play for them on our home court,” Glasauer said. “And I wanted to play good for coach and play good for my dad.”

But then the nerves wore off. Glasauer drained her next five shots, including a three-point play off of a drive to the baseline to extend NU’s lead to 10 with 9:14 left in the first half. She added a pull-up jumper with less than a minute left to extend the Cats’ lead to 14. She finished with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added seven assists and three steals.

“Talk about coming out on senior night and making it happen for you,” Combs said. “That’s what today was all about, honoring A.J. and Holly Palin and all of the hard work they’ve put in. For her to be able to do that on senior day in front of her father is just tremendous.”

Palin, who joined the team last year as a walk-on after four years as a starter on NU’s field hockey squad, played four minutes, recording one rebound and one assist in her 16th career game.

Combs said replacing Glasauer will be difficult. Glasauer is set to move into 10th place in the program’s history by playing in her 112th career game Thursday at Indiana. She ranks ninth all-time in 3-pointers attempted and seventh in free-throw percentage.

Though Glasauer and Palin fought off tears as they received a standing ovation in the final seconds of Sunday’s win, Glasauer said they are focusing on the rest of the season rather than their careers at NU.

“I’m just happy we won,” Glasauer said. “Later it’ll catch up with me … but right now I’m just happy we won.”

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