Women’s Basketball: Northwestern fails to send seniors out with a win


Daily file photo by Annabel Edwards

Freshman point guard Ashley Deary and Northwestern tripped up on Senior Night, falling 75-44 at home to Michigan State. The Spartans outscored the Wildcats by 22 points in a one-sided second half.

Bobby Pillote, Reporter

In their final home game of the season, the Wildcats (14-14, 4-11 Big Ten) fell 75-44 to the Michigan State Spartans (20-8, 12-3) in disappointing fashion. The loss is NU’s seventh in a row.

“It was just a very emotional night for us,” coach Joe McKeown said. “I’m really proud of my seniors. … They came out on fire tonight.”

Senior guards Meghan McKeown and La’Terria Taylor both started a game for the first time in their careers.

McKeown, a more regular rotation player this season, logged 18 minutes and contributed 3 points and two rebounds to the Cats’ losing effort.

But despite the defeat, the coach’s daughter expressed fond memories after the game.

“It’s been a really great experience,” she said. “Not many daughters get to play for their dad. …  These four years have been a roller coaster, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Being announced in the starting lineup was probably a bigger moment for Taylor, who didn’t even see the court her first two years at NU due to a laundry list of injuries.

A late-game specialist and sideline leader for much of this season, Taylor added 4 points in her 14 minutes played.

She, too, was sentimental after the game.

“It just meant a lot to be out there on the floor with my team,” she said. “I’m really appreciative of the opportunities that being here has opened up for me.”

The Cats actually jumped out to an early lead with their seniors on the floor. McKeown hit a 3, Taylor made a transition layup off a turnover, and freshman guard Ashley Deary scored 4 points off back-to-back steals.

When McKeown and Taylor went to the bench with about 12 minutes to play in the first half, NU held a 16-10 advantage.

That margin slipped away in the hands of the usual starters. Freshman forward Nia Coffey, the team’s leading scorer, was ice cold in the first half. She shot just 1-for-9 from the floor and 2-for-6 from the free throw line.

Deary, junior forward Alex Cohen and sophomore forward Lauren Douglas weren’t much better, making 2-of-7, 2-of-6 and 0-of-4, respectively, from the floor in the opening half. As a team, the Cats shot a miserable 23.5 percent.

Coach McKeown, eternally optimistic, had just one piece of advice.

“If you’re a good shooter, keep shooting,” he said. “These guys can score, they just picked the wrong night where they all went cold.”

NU wasn’t able to turn it around in the second half.

The most remarkable figure in the final box score was that nine of the 12 players who entered the game for the Cats scored at least one point. Only Cohen finished in double digits.

She also led the team in made 3-pointers and 3-point attempts, a result that probably no one anticipated.

Coffey, on the other hand, completely disappeared. She pulled down 10 rebounds but also ended the game with as many fouls, four, as points.

As has become routine, NU was dominated on the boards, getting out-rebounded 54-38.

The result is a disappointing one, both in light of senior night and the season as a whole.

Not too long ago, the Cats were jockeying for NCAA Tournament seeding. With one regular season game left, now they’re just fighting to keep a winning record.

Taylor had one parting piece of advice.

“I think we just need to stay together,” she said. “That’s what we always talk about. … I think we’ll be fine if we stay close.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @BobbyPillote