After coming off their biggest win of the season against then No. 4 Indiana at home, Michigan State women’s basketball continued their momentum and fought off a comeback on the road against the Northwestern Wildcats (6-7) in a 71-64 win.
The Spartans got off to a slow start through the first five minutes as they started 2-7 from the field compared to Northwestern’s 4-6 start.
Senior forward Taiyier Parks kept MSU in the game through the first seven minutes as she accounted for five of the Spartans' seven points while Northwestern pushed their total to 15.
After the MSU timeout seven minutes into the first quarter, the script completely flipped in MSU’s favor. Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel helped bring the green and white within five as the first period ended with a three ball and a bank-shot-and-one.
MSU continued their steady comeback early in the second quarter as sophomore guard/forward Matilda Ekh got hot. She recorded nine points in the first five minutes of the period while shooting 3-4 from deep. She continued her hot start throughout the period, ending the half with a game high 17 on 5-6 shooting from beyond the three point arch.
Parks also continued her strong game throughout the first half as she went into the locker room with 11 points and five boards.
Northwestern started the game red hot from the field as they were 9-13 from the field in the first quarter, but went ice cold in the second period as they went into the half 14-32. MSU also hit on most of their threes while the Wildcats could not. The Spartans held a 7-13 to a 2-9 advantage throughout the first two quarters.
The Spartans were the worst free throw shooting team in the Big Ten coming into the game, but put together a very solid outing from the line in the first 20 minutes. They went 8-9 before the 15 minute break.
MSU opened the second half in a similar fashion as how they ended the first one. In the first five minutes of the third quarter, Parks picked up where she left off. She put up 4 points and a rebound to bring her total to 15 points and six rebounds at that point.
Northwestern also did more of the same in the start of the third quarter as they went on a couple minute field goal-less stretch to begin the half.
MSU kept their foot on the gas throughout the third quarter as they started the final period leading 62-49. McDaniel finished the quarter strong, scoring five of her total 13. Redshirt junior guard Julia Ayrault hit two threes in that span as well.
The strong three-point shooting continued throughout the game for MSU as they finished 10-21 from deep. The Wildcats still could not get it going from distance though, going 3-18 when all was said and done.
The match slowly became tightly contested in the final quarter as Northwestern climbed back into the game to bring themselves within five in the final minute. MSU played sloppily throughout the quarter as their turnovers mounted to 13. They also missed a number of free throw attempts, dropping their percentage to 63% on 17-27 attempts.
However, they pulled it together in the final minute as senior guard Moira Joiner hit two big free throws to bring MSU’s lead to seven. Northwestern then turned the ball over at the 10 second mark, effectively ending the game.
The Spartans now move to 10-5 on the season and 2-2 in conference play.
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