Women’s Basketball: Northwestern overcomes Wisconsin in overtime to end slide

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

Northwestern snapped a seven-game losing streak Sunday with a 77-73 win over Wisconsin.

The back-and-forth overtime victory in Madison, Wis., puts the Wildcats at 15-14 overall on the season, 5-11 in conference. The matchup against the Badgers was a fight for 10th place in the Big Ten. The Cats’ victory means they’ll be seeded 10th at the conference tournament next week in Indianapolis.

Though the season didn’t meet all preseason expectations for the Cats, they’re that much more motivated for the Big Ten Tournament.

“We need to make a statement next week,” coach Joe McKeown said. “I feel like we’re better than where we will finish.”

The team’s season was marked by close contests that came down to one basket or one play, and their game against the Badgers followed that pattern. NU bested Wisconsin in its first overtime game of the season, holding on for a 4-point victory.

The game was back and forth at the beginning, until the Cats pulled ahead at the end of the first half to head into the locker room with a 40-33 lead.

“It’s all about momentum, and taking that lead into halftime was big for us,” freshman Christen Inman said. “We could carry it with us. Even when they made a run, we still had momentum from that run in the first half.”

As she has been for the team’s wins all season, Inman was a huge reason for the Cats’ victory. The freshman guard put up 18 points for NU in addition to a team-high nine rebounds and was a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line. Fellow freshman Nia Coffey tallied a team-high 19 points for the Cats and added eight rebounds.

Sophomores Lauren Douglas and Maggie Lyon chipped in 15 and 11 points respectively to help lead the Cats.

Wisconsin came back battling in the second half. The Badgers went on a run to pull ahead 49-48 with 13 minutes left in the game.

“Overall it was a really hard-fought game,” Inman said. “At every point when we made a run, they made a run. It was very back and forth and took a lot of energy. Our heart really won the game overall.”

The Cats’ heart pushed them through the final stages of regulation, as the Badgers pulled ahead by 5, but the Cats were able to pull even yet again.

The Cats then took a 2-point lead, but the Badgers again tied it up with two free throws following a steal. With the score tied at 68 apiece, each team tried to end it in regulation but came up short.

NU went up early in overtime, with Coffey draining two baskets in a row and then Inman making both free throws following a steal. Wisconsin battled back, pulling to within 2 points, but Inman made two more free throws, giving the Cats their 77-73 win.

After such a difficult stretch of games, the win is key for NU heading into the postseason.

“It feels awesome. It’s momentum going into the Big Ten Tournament because we can say were going into it with a win,” Inman said. “And that’s what it’s all about.”

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