The No. 15 Northwestern Wildcats face the visiting Michigan Wolverines on Thursday at 1:30 pm in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Northwestern picked up the No. 3 seed in the tournament with a 3 – 2 finish in conference, while Michigan ended the year with an 0 – 5 Big Ten record, and thus received a No. 6 seed.
The Cats are fresh off a big win at No. 19 Ohio State last Friday. The victory pushed the team back to a .500 win record, finishing the regular season at 8- 8. In order to qualify for the NCAA tournament, a team must have a winning percentage of .500 or above. The Cats will have to beat Michigan in order to stay eligible for the NCAA tournament.
Selena Lasota was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for her career high eight goals in the win against the Buckeyes. Five of those goals came in the second half to push what was an 11 – 11 tie with Ohio State to a total Northwestern take-over.
Kaleigh Craig added four goals, with Leighton Yenor and Shelby Fredericks each contributing three in the 22 – 13 win. Freshman Yenor has now scored seven goals in the past three games. Additionally, sophomore Shannon Nesselbush scored her first career goal on her first career shot in the dominating win.
Michigan finished the regular season with a 16 – 6 loss at Rutgers. Kim Coughlan led the Wolverines with three goals and one assist, her sixth game with three or more goals this season. Anna Schueler added a goal and two assists in the loss.
The Wolverines won the draw control battle, 14 – 9, but the Scarlet Knights outshot Michigan, 29 – 23 en route to victory. Michigan lost every Big Ten game this season by an average of 8.4 goals per game.
Northwestern is 4 – 0 all time against the maize and blue. The Cats dominated the Wolverines earlier in the season with a 20 – 4 win that featured Lasota breaking a brief mid-season slump with six goals.
Lasota and Craig were named to the All Big Ten Team, announced Wednesday morning. It’s Craig’s first selection to the team after leading the Cats with 41 goals, 52 points, and 29 ground balls. Not only was she named Offensive Player of the Week once this past season, but also was awarded the Defensive Player of the Week award after wins against Michigan and Notre Dame. This is Lasota’s second time on the team after being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in her previous season.
WNUR’s own Austin Miller and Caleigh Ryan will have the call for WNUR Sports from Martin Stadium on Thursday afternoon. WNUR’s live coverage will start at 1:15 pm and can be heard live over the air on 89.3 FM in Evanston or Chicago or online at wnursports.com