Even with Christen Inman out, the Wildcats rode huge performances from their role players to a 76-65 win over Michigan State. The ‘Cats improved to 15-4 (4-2 Big Ten) while the Spartans fell to 13-6 (3-3 Big Ten).
Amber Jamison got the start in Inman’s place and had the best game of her career. In 34 minutes she scored 22 points on 8-12 shooting. She caught fire in the third quarter, hitting all three of her three-point attempts and putting up 11 points. She also had the difficult task of guarding Tori Jankoska, who lead all scorers with 25 points.
The Cats were hot out of the gate with a strong 20-1o lead in the first quarter. But Michigan State fired back in the second quarter, and got especially hot from deep. They finished the half 8-14 from behind the arc, and cut the ‘Cats lead to 37-36 at halftime. But Jamison’s huge second half combined with 14 second-half points from Ashley Deary was enough for Northwestern to hold on.
“She took care of her defensive assignment and knocked down shots on offense,” Deary said.
Deary played all 40 minutes and went about her usual business, scoring 20 points, with seven assists. She also didn’t miss at the line, making all 10 of her free throw attempts.
Lauren Douglas was a key contributor for the Cats as well, with 13 points in 5-9 shooting. If you ask her, she’d tell you she could play all five positions,” coach Joe McKeown said. “The really good teams have someone like her.”
Nia Coffey struggled to get into her rhythm all night, scoring five points on 1-14 shooting. Coffey has been dominant for the ‘Cats all year, but even without her offense, the ‘Cats were able to hang around all game.
“They’re going to make life tough on Nia Coffey. Nia almost got assists without touching the ball. She created openings and was able to make plays,” McKeown said.
“It makes it hard when you have such a dynamic player in Nia Coffey to defend,” Michigan State associate head coach Amaka Agugua said. “That was part of the reason that we wanted to play a lot of zone.”
Allie Tuttle provided some valuable scoring early on, with six points in the first quarter. Maya Jonas played some quality bench minutes as well, with four points in six minutes.
The Wildcats have an eight-day break before their next game, where they’ll head to Michigan for another key Big Ten game.