Women’s Basketball: Northwestern falls to Michigan State for second time


Daily file photo by Meghan White

Senior forward Kendall Hackney attempts to block a shot. Hackney exceeded 1,500 career points on Wednesday with 11 points against Michigan State.

Rebecca Friedman, Assistant Sports Editor

The Wildcats came up short in their attempt to avenge their loss against the Spartans earlier in the season.

Northwestern (12-14, 4-9 Big Ten) was unable to sustain an impressive first half performance, and Michigan State (20-6, 8-5) outlasted the Cats on Wednesday in East Lansing, 54-45.

NU was off to a strong start, taking the early lead and holding it until there were only 2 minutes and 20 seconds left in the half. The Cats had as much as a 10-point lead in the first half. The Spartans made a push in the second part of the half and brought NU to a 24-24 tie just before the two-minute mark. Michigan State fought hard in the final two minutes to head into the locker room up 27-25 after spending the majority of the first half down. 

The Cats shot 44 percent from the field in the first half and held their opponents to only 31.3 percent. 

“Just as a whole we were moving the ball well,” senior forward Dannielle Diamant said regarding the first half . “We did a good job of reversing the ball. My teammates were getting good looks and good passes inside.”

The Spartans were able to take the momentum from the final moments of the first half into the second half and came out strong again in the final 20 minutes. Five minutes into the second half, the Cats were able to tie it up, but the Spartans pulled ahead and never looked back. Michigan State had as much as a 13-point lead with four minutes and 12 seconds left in the game.

The Cats attempted to come back, as they have tried to do so many times before, but fell short, despite narrowing the lead to 7 with 40 seconds left, thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by freshman guard Maggie Lyon and senior forward Kendall Hackney. The lead proved too much for the Cats to overcome, and they fell 54-45 to the Spartans. “Our shots weren’t falling in the second half,” Diamant said. “We weren’t boxing out on defense, and we weren’t able to get as many shots off as we did in the first half. A lot of Michigan State’s shots went in in the second half too.”

The Cats shot 30.8 from the field in the second half to lower them to 37.3 on the night. However, their defense seemed pretty consistent as they held the Spartans to only 33.3 from the floor after halftime. 

“It was a tough, hard-fought game,” coach Joe McKeown said. “We got into foul trouble and couldn’t score in the second half, and that’s when they made a run and turned the game around.”

Diamant led the Cats with 12 points and seven rebounds. 

Hackney chipped in 11 points and five rebounds, setting two records along the way, as she scored 1,500 career points and tied Laura Augustyniak by playing in her 122nd career game. Lyons added 11 points as well and sophomore guard Karly Roser added seven. 

“In the first half I thought we played great,” McKeown said. “We had chances; we’ve just got to find ways to score.”

Despite the loss, the Cats have a good mindset heading back to Evanston for their next Big Ten matchup.

“We’re looking forward to Wisconsin on Saturday,” Diamant said. “We’ve been a really resilient team, whether it’s what we have going on with our team itself or basketball-wise. I feel confident that we’re going to come out and play well on Saturday.”