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Women’s Basketball: Michigan State dominates Northwestern in 81-51 blowout

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Lydia Rohde plays perimeter defense. The senior guard returned to the lineup in Wednesday's blowout loss.

Lydia Rohde plays perimeter defense. The senior guard returned to the lineup in Wednesday's blowout loss.

Daily file photo by Keshia Johnson

Daily file photo by Keshia Johnson

Lydia Rohde plays perimeter defense. The senior guard returned to the lineup in Wednesday's blowout loss.

Benjy Apelbaum, Assistant Sports Editor

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Northwestern has tried to rely on its defense with an inexperienced team this season, but when teams have pushed the pace against the often-deliberate Wildcats, the points have flowed.

Michigan State was able to do just that Wednesday in East Lansing, blowing out NU (8-9, 1-2 Big Ten) 81-51. It was the fourth game in their last six that the Cats allowed 80 or more points.

The Spartans’ (12-4, 2-1) offensive success came partly because of their defensive pressure, which forced 16 turnovers and allowed the hosts to get out on the fastbreak and score numerous easy layups. Guard Shay Colley led the way for Michigan State with 18 points, many of which came in transition.

On the other hand, the NU offense struggled mightily. The team scored 12 fewer points than their season average of 63 and shot only 32 percent from the floor.

Freshman guard Lindsey Pulliam went into the game the Cats’ leading scorer with an average of 14.9 points per game, but struggled against the Spartans. She shot 1-of-8 from the field and scored 8 points.

The Cats could only find success on inside shots from junior forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and senior center Oceana Hamilton. The duo combined for 25 points on the day, but Kunaiyi-Akpanah ran into foul trouble and thus spent ample time on the bench.

Michigan State blitzed the Cats in the first half and never looked back. The Spartans opened up a 50-22 lead after 20 minutes at shot 59 percent in the first two quarters. Michigan State’s aggressive defense forced 10 first-half turnovers that often lead to easy fastbreak layups

One promising event for NU was the return of senior guard Lydia Rohde after she missed the last two games with an upper-body injury. Rohde finished 1-for-4 from the field for 3 points in the game. All four of her shots came from 3-point range.

The Cats return home Sunday looking for their second conference win when they take on Nebraska.

Email: Benjaminapelbaum2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @benjyapelbaum

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