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Winter sports wrap-up: 2/27/12

We'll catch up with the spring sports after all this basketball tournament insanity/anxiety is over, but until their seasons end, these wrap-up posts will focus on the winter sports. They're all entering their stretch run, so it's March madness for more than just basketball.

Women's basketball: NU honored senior captains Brittany Orban and Allison Mocchi, along with fourth-year junior Tailor Jones on Senior Day on Sunday, but the Wildcats couldn't send them out with a win. Michigan State pulled away in the second half for a 76-57 win, dropping the 'Cats to 14-15 overall, 4-12 in the Big Ten.

The loss in their regular season finale means NU must win at least two games in the Big Ten tournament in order to ensure a .500 record and remain eligible for the NIT. That'll be a tall order, with NU the 11th seed in the tournament, which begins Thursday in Indianapolis. The Wildcats will face No. 6 seed Nebraska in the first round, tipping off around 1 p.m. CT Thursday. NU did upset the 24th-ranked Huskers the last time they met, so the 'Cats have a chance. Should they win, they'll face No. 3 seed Iowa on Friday. The tournament will be broadcast on BTN.

One other women's basketball note: Center Dannielle Diamant was named to a third-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and honorable mention by the media, while forward Kendall Hackney got named an honorable mention by the media and wing Morgan Jones got named honorable mention by the coaches. Jones was also named to the All-Freshman Team. Diamant was the Wildcats' third leading scorer at 13.9 ppg, especially shining during conference play, and also lead the team in rebounding at 7.7 rpg. Hackney led the team with 15.2 ppg (9th in the conference), while Jones was second on the team at 14.1 ppg.

Wrestling: The No. 18 Wildcats wrapped up the regular season with an 11-4 record, 4-4 in the Big Ten, and now they'll compete this weekend in the Big Ten championships for berths in the NCAA championships. Redshirt junior Jason Welch, who went 21-0, is the top-seeded wrestler at 157 pounds. Junior Levi Mele, ranked 9th in the country at 125 pounds, is seeded fifth in his weight class. Redshirt freshman Mike McMullan is also seeded fifth at 285 pounds, while sophomore Kaleb Friedley is seeded eighth at 149 pounds and redshirt freshman Lee Munster is seeded ninth at 174 pounds.

Fencing: The Wildcats compete this weekend at the Midwest Conference Championships in South Bend, Ind.,, where they'll be gunning against perennial national title contenders Notre Dame and Ohio State for conference supremacy. NU is coming off a successful weekend at the US Squad Collegiate Championships in NYC, where all three weapons won medals. The epee squad captured the silver medal out of 22 teams, while the foil and sabre squads got bronzes.

Women's swimming and diving: The Wildcats competed in the Big Ten championships two weekends ago and finished seventh as a team. Jenny Wilson shattered a 13-year NU record in the 200 breaststroke, clocking in at 2:09.59. Feliciz Lenz earned a silver medal in the platform dive, and Hannah Points took bronze in the 400 IM. I have no idea how NCAA championship qualification works, but you can catch up on all the NU results from the Big Ten championships here.

Men's swimming and diving: The Wildcats finished ninth at the Big Ten championships this past weekend. As far as I can tell, no Wildcat earned a medal in any event. Full results here.