Pink turns into blue for NU (Women’s Basketball)

Jimmy Mitchell

An ample amount of pink Monday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena could not help Northwestern stem the tide of its now two-month long losing streak.

The Wildcats (4-22, 0-14 Big Ten) lost their 15th straight contest Monday, this time to Wisconsin (13-11, 6-8 Big Ten) 79-65 on Think Pink Night in Evanston.

The defeat maintained NU’s status as the only Big Ten team without a conference victory.

Freshman center Amy Jaeschke was again the primary bright spot for the Cats, recording a team-high 20 points and grabbing five rebounds.

She started the game with a hot hand, scoring the first eight points of the game for NU in an opening surge that matched an identical eight-point outbreak against Michigan on Feb. 14.

The guard play of senior Nadia Bibbs and freshman Meshia Reed was also a key component of the Cats’ offensive attack Monday. The duo comined for 29 points, and Reed was perfect from behind the three-point line, hitting all three of her attempts.

Senior Janese Banks led Wisconsin with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including four three-pointers. Rae Lin D’Alle and Lin Zanstrow added 14 points each.

NU’s offensive output of 38 points in the first half nearly matched its total from its last game, a 47-40 loss to Michigan. Reed attributed the team’s success to getting more players involved on the offensive end.

“I think this is how it should be every game, every practice, every night,” Reed said. “We all need to contribute. And lately a lot of people see it, stat-wise, as just being me and Amy.

“But now, Nadia’s putting points on the board … I think we need to do that again.”

Even though the Cats scored well more than their season average of just under 53 points a game, recurring issues were in play Monday. Turnovers and rebounding, two troublesome areas that have consistently plagued NU all season, contributed a great deal to Wisconsin’s 79-point total.

The Badgers scored 34 points off of NU turnovers and more than doubled the Cats’ seven offensive rebounds with 15 of their own.

“We had a couple breakdowns, and again, they come back to bite us,” said coach Beth Combs. “Go back to your quotes from last game. It’s the same thing at the end of the day. Turnovers, offensive rebounds … and they were able to capitalize tonight off of (our mistakes).”

NU led for much of the first half, and a bank shot from Jaeschke gave the Cats an eight-point advantage with six and a half minutes remaining.

But the Badgers responded immediately with a minute-long, 7-0 run to cut NU’s lead to one and set the tone for the rest of the game.

NU only scored seven points in the final six minutes of the first period, and Wisconsin was able to take a three-point lead going into halftime.

While the Cats cut the lead to a single point twice early in the second half, the Badgers would not relinquish their advantage for the rest of the game.

With twelve and a half minutes remaining, Wisconsin began a 16-4 run that would crush any hope of an NU comeback. In the end, it was another double-digit conference loss for the Cats, their 13th in 14 Big Ten games.

“Wisconsin’s a very talented team,” Combs said. “Don’t let their Big Ten record fool you. I think they can definitely do some damage as we get closer to the Big Ten tournament. We had a great effort tonight … we had a great 40-minute effort tonight, even when we faltered.

“And that’s something we can build on.”

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daily file photoFreshman center Amy Jaeschke scored 20 points – 16 in the first half – on 8-of-12 shooting, but it wasn’t enough for NU. The Cats lost at home to Wisconsin, 79-65, to extend its losing streak to 15 games and remain winless in the Big Ten.