Women’s Basketball: Wildcats shut down by Spartan scoring


Jonah Elkowitz/The Daily Northwestern

Jillian Brown attempts a layup. Brown had four points in Northwestern’s 65-46 loss to Michigan State.

Kyle Leverone, Assistant Sports Editor

This Northwestern season has been about Veronica Burton. 

In big wins, she leads. In tough losses, she carries. It’s fair praise: ninth in the Big Ten in scoring, second in assists and first in steals.

As she stands in the spotlight, the rest of the players on this Wildcats team have been lurking in the shadows of Welsh-Ryan Arena, slowly filling their roles and owning them. In Sunday’s matchup against Michigan State, they started to come out of the dark.

Caileigh Walsh and Laya Hartman led the way in scoring with 10 points each, and Burton and Lauryn Satterwhite followed behind with nine and eight points, respectively. This is good news for the Wildcats, as scoring depth has been a point of contention this season. It wasn’t deep enough, though, as the Spartans came out in force and beat NU 65-46 in East Lansing.

“Michigan State played really well,” coach Joe McKeown said. “Their size hurt us, they shot the ball extremely well from the three line. We didn’t do a very good job defending, and they did a really good job defending us.” 

Michigan State’s guard Nia Clouden sparked her team as she usually does, with a couple of threes in the first half that ignited a fire. Her 18 points catalyzed her teammates, including shooting guard Matilda Ekh, who tallied 18 points on six threes, and Taiyier Parks, who added 10 points. The deep just kept going. Tamara Farquhar also finished with eight points, thus rounding out the number of notable participants in this sort of scoring Spider-Verse. 

Nevertheless, the Wildcats held the Spartans to under 70 points. The team gathered 10 steals, four blocks, and forced 15 Michigan State turnovers. The defense was there, as it almost always is. But despite 20 Northwestern bench points, the Cats just couldn’t put the pieces all together on the offensive end.

“You go on the road in the Big Ten, it gets physical,” McKeown said. “You’ve got to find ways to score, so that’s the challenge for us as we move forward.”

Freshman Jillian Brown was the first to score with a takeaway and layup finish, putting the Cats up 2-0 with 8:11 in the first quarter. That remained the team’s only lead until 2:26 in the second, where Walsh hit a three to put her team up 25-24. Ekh hit a three at the halftime buzzer, and then the two teams remained distanced for the remainder of the game.

A 21-turnover afternoon underscored NU’s team struggles.

“Our passing was very deliberate,” McKeown said. “It was deflected, it was predictable where we were trying to throw the ball to our seals into the posts. In transition, we had opportunities. We’re usually pretty good at kicking the ball back out and finding gaps. Our passing has got to get better.

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Twitter: @KLever0ne15

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