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Women’s Basketball: Inside the stats for Northwestern’s close victory over Michigan State

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Ashley Deary shoots a lay-up. The sophomore guard was the leading cog in Northwestern’s robust offense against Michigan State, scoring 18 of the team’s 77 points.

Ashley Deary shoots a lay-up. The sophomore guard was the leading cog in Northwestern’s robust offense against Michigan State, scoring 18 of the team’s 77 points.

Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

Ashley Deary shoots a lay-up. The sophomore guard was the leading cog in Northwestern’s robust offense against Michigan State, scoring 18 of the team’s 77 points.

Khadrice Rollins, Reporter

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Sometimes in basketball, parsing through the stats uncovers only more confusion, but that was not the case for Sunday’s Northwestern-Michigan State contest.

The Wildcats were able to keep a comfortable lead for much of Sunday’s game against the Spartans, and it is pretty easy to explain why.

For starters, there was a 20-0 run the Wildcats used to create a lead they held from the 11:54 mark of the first half until the end of the game. After going down 14-5, NU dominated the next six minutes of the contest to go up 25-14.

The Cats pulled down 10 rebounds during this stretch while the Spartans only grabbed four. Three of these NU rebounds were offensive compared to two from Michigan State’s. The Cats snatched five second chance points from these offensive boards.

The Spartans also had three turnovers during this time, while the Cats only had one. The Cats scored five points off of turnovers during this run.

NU was able to keep up its dominance in key statistics for more than just this great sequence.

For the game, Michigan State had 17 turnovers to the Cats’ 12. Along with that, NU scored 19 points thanks to these turnovers, compared to the 14 Spartans had. Because the Cats were able to get the ball away from Michigan State, they also ended up with 10 more fast break points than their opponent.

The Cats, along with being less sloppy, were also better passers. NU assisted on 24 of 31 baskets, a 77 percent rate, while the Spartans only assisted on 18 of 25 shots, a 72 percent rate.

NU was also a killer down low. The Cats only outrebounded the Spartans by one, but the difference on the offensive glass was significant. NU had 11 offensive boards whereas the visitors only had five. These six extra possessions helped the Cats win by 9 in the battle for second chance points, 13 to 4.

NU’s control over the game did not stop there. The Cats recorded 44 points in the paint to the Spartans’ 28. In the previous contest, in East Lansing, Michigan, NU scored 2 fewer points in the interior than Michigan State. The 16-point differential in their favor this time around played a key role in securing victory.

Arguably just as important as all of this, the Cats did not allow Michigan State to command in any stats. Although the Spartans finished with a higher field goal percentage, free throw percentage and more bench points, these victories were very minor.

The Spartans shot 48.1 percent from the field compared to NU’s 47 percent. However, the Cats and Spartans were tied at 3-point percentage at 47 percent. And NU ended up making 31 field goals while Michigan State only made 25.

The Spartans shot 85.7 percent from the charity stripe, which was much better than NU’s 58.3 percent. But the Spartans only made 12 free throws, five more than the Cats’ seven.

The advantage Michigan State had in bench points was only 7 to 4, which ended up being a negligible statistic.

NU took care of business in most aspects of the game, and this is why they walked away with the win.

Email: khadricerollins2017@u.northwestern.edu

Twitter: @KhadriceRollins

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