Finally, Northwestern fell victim to March Madness.
The Wildcats fell to Indiana 66-65 on Thursday in Bloomington, Ind., in the third round of the National Invitational Tournament, ending NU’s season.
The Hoosiers prevailed on a game-winning layup from Simone Deloach with 11 seconds to play. Indiana finished the game on an 11-2 run over the last four and a half minutes.
Star guard Larryn Brooks scored a game-high 27 points for the Hoosiers. NU freshman forward Nia Coffey tallied 16 and sophomore forward Lauren Douglas added 15.
NU led by as many as 14 in the first half and entered halftime with a 6-point edge, as six different players scored at least two baskets.
The Cats maintained a comfortable lead for much of the second half, before the Hoosiers’ final, decisive run. A final missed jumper from sophomore guard Maggie Lyon sealed NU’s fate.
The loss ended a satisfying NIT run in which the Cats defeated Ball State and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to reach the third round.
Indiana and NU had already met this season, with the Cats pulling out a 58-52 win in January.
Although a season-ending loss, especially a dramatic one, is tough to swallow, NU has reason for optimism looking forward.
With three freshmen and two sophomores among the team’s six best players, the Cats will enter next season with high expectations, including a possible NCAA tournament berth.
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