Coming into Thursday’s contest against Marquette, the Golden Eagles were the best team in the nation on the draw control circle, averaging 23.57 per game; their star on the circle, Mary Blee, was 21st in the nation on winning draws. For No. 4. Northwestern, the key to winning this game was simple: win the draw. The Wildcats had an answer in first-year Madison Taylor: the Big Ten Freshman of the Week posted eight draw controls and two goals to help the ‘Cats come away with their third win of the season, beating MU on the road 21-14.
The first quarter was fairly even. Marquette scored the opening goal two minutes into play. Northwestern had the response a few moments later off of a backdoor cut by Elle Hansen and a pass from up top by Erin Coykendall. This back-and-forth nature would continue for the entirety of the first quarter, finishing with a score of 5-4.
Marquette played the first quarter very quickly, trying to outrun the Wildcats both in transition and on the ride. Once the second quarter started, it was clear that MU may have been too quick too early, losing some momentum and letting the game get away from it.
Northwestern overtook the draw in the second quarter and went on a 3-0 run with goals by Samatha Smith, Izzy Scane and Hansen.
The spin cycle, then the stick throw? Izzy Scane is too cold— Northwestern Lax (@NULax) February 23, 2023
NU 7, MU 4 | 1Q pic.twitter.com/NvV0AeJxtv
Marquette was able to sneak one past goalie Molly Laliberty, but the Wildcats kept their composure and continued to find the back of the net, putting four more goals on the board. Marquette’s Lydia Foust scored to try and breathe some life back into the Golden Eagles, but Scane had the answer. Scane finished the half with four goals, and Northwestern went into the break up 13-6.
Marquette won the first draw of the second half and scored to try and bring back its momentum and close the gap. But Scane and the offense continued to pile on the pressure, scoring three more, and Coykendall notched her fourth of the game. Marquette added two goals in the last two minutes of the quarter to try and again shift the energy to bring the game closer.
Yet again, Scane deposited the first goal of the fourth quarter for the Wildcats; the star finished the game with eight, bringing her season total to 27. Samantha White scored next to make the score 19-9 and milk the clock further. Head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller then made some substitutions, giving other players some valuable minutes, including first-year goalie Francesca Argentieri, who came in relief of Laliberty — who had nine total saves.
Marquette showed some life late in the game, collecting two goals to make the score 20-12. The Wildcats had one more goal, though, this time by Kiera Shanley, the senior’s first of the season. Marquette still had some more to give, putting up two more to make the final score 21-14.
NU was able to take care of things on the draw and never give up on putting the pressure on Marquette. The Wildcats capitalized on mistakes, took smart shots and took care of the ball. The Golden Eagles had great pressure in the beginning but fizzled out and never recovered.
Northwestern’s next game is over a week away, when the ‘Cats take on Vanderbilt on March 4 at 12 p.m. CT in Ryan Fieldhouse.