by Callie Counsellor (@CCounsellor)
Northwestern's last road game of the regular season played out much like the rest: a double-digit deficit, a frantic comeback, and a close loss.
This one came against Michigan (20-8, 9-6 Big Ten), resulting in a 55-50 loss for the Wildcats.
Despite the loss, forward Maggie Lyon continued her stellar freshman season, leading the Cats with 18 points for her 11th straight double-digit point game. She hit four three-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds, both tying career-highs.
The Wolverines jumped out to the early 5-0 lead in the first 45 seconds. NU (13-15, 5-10) stayed close for much of the first half, as neither team found consistent offensive production. Michigan picked up the pace with four minutes left in the half, taking eight point lead with 4:17 to go. However, the Cats closed the gap to three before the break.
The streaky shooting continued for both teams after the break. Michigan missed five of its first six shots and the Cats missed seven of the first nine.
With just over 12 minutes left, Michigan forward Rachel Sheffer took control of the game. The senior scored eight points in three minutes to give the Wolverines their largest lead of the game, 43-32, with 9:36 left.
As has become custom, the Cats began a comeback with four minutes left. A Lyon three-pointer with 1:54 left brought NU within one, a seven-point swing in just one minute and 45 seconds of game time.
After a timeout for Michigan, the Wolverines missed a jumper but the Cats turned the ball over and Michigan converted for the three-point lead. The Wolverines hit five of six free throws down the stretch to seal the game.
The Cats return to Evanston for their last regular season game against Iowa on Sunday. In their last match-up, NU upset the No. 24 Hawkeyes, 67-65, on Feb. 3.
NU will honor its four seniors, Dannielle Diamant, Inesha Hale, Kate Popovec, and Kendall Hackney.