Three Phases #4- Struggles
WNUR’s Ben Goren (@BenG412) breaks down Northwestern’s Thursday night loss to Michigan State on senior day.
In a perfect world, winter temperatures bottom out at 31 degrees, spring starts in mid February, and seniors win on senior day. It is not a perfect world. Last night’s game against Michigan State was a rough outing, to say the least. 75-44 games don’t attract a lot of positive attention from NIT selection committees.
The good news is that Northwestern held MSU to 23.8% from 3 and forced 16 turnovers. That is the only good news. Michigan State grabbed 14 offensive rebounds, shot 21 foul shots, and shot 45.2% from the field. 4 Spartans scored double figures and 2 more scored 9. 38 MSU points came in the paint, 14 more at the stripe. Take every other shot away, and Sparty wins 52-44. Northwestern looked less athletic, and less quick all night, and the shifty guards Aerial Powers and Branndais Agee had strong games against Northwestern’s young backcourt.
Alex Cohen gets NU’s MVP for going 4-9 from the field, good for 11 points. Outside of that, and the cameos by Meghan McKeown, La’Terria Taylor and Karly Roser, no one shot the ball well. Coffey was 1-12 from the field. Deary was 2-9. Douglas 1-7. Inman 2-6. Lyon 1-5. These are numbers more similar to a video game where you tell your buddy the wrong button for shoot. It was a bewildering game. Coffey seemed to press all game while Lyon and Inman were completely taken away by smothering perimeter defense. Entry passes were stolen, layups were missed, foul shots were missed in bushels (7-19 from the stripe), and the offense was very inconsistent. The final field goal totals were 17-61. This team did not resemble the team that scored 82 on DePaul, or even the one that scored 73 on Penn State.
Northwestern is not exactly tearing things up as their season comes to a close. 7 straight losses, 4 straight games where the Wildcats lost by 9 or more. The B1G is a grind, there is no doubt. There isn’t an off game, there isn’t an easy W to be found. One has to wonder if playing 7-8 deep throughout the entire season has caught up with the Wildcats. The team didn’t quit, give them credit for that, but, for a team that I think is one of the more athletic in the conference, they sure didn’t seem like it yesterday. Tired legs would explain that.
There will be plenty of time to look forward to the future, which is bright. Right now, it is a time for somber reflection, followed by removing this game from the memory. For Northwestern, the remaining games are about playing for pride. The seniors Megan McKeown and La’Terria Taylor are gutty, hardworking players who won’t allow the team to lie down. Can Northwestern pick itself off the mat? I don’t know. Momentum is a hard thing to recapture, and right now, the momentum was last seen in Bloomington, Indiana on January 30th, the last time the Wildcats won.