The season began poorly for the 'Cats, who dropped each of their three games in a weekend tournament in Surprise, Arizona. Northwestern played well during the losses, losing by four total runs across the three games, but mistakes plagued the 'Cats in their final game. Michigan State mustered up just three hits, but offensive inefficiency and defensive miscues – including a key first-inning error by first baseman Zach Jones – gave the Spartans a 3-2 win.
The baseball team travels next to San Antonio, Texas, for the Irish Alamo Invitational, which begins with a doubleheader on Feb. 20 against Villanova and Incarnate Word. Grade: C+
The 'Cats split their two contests last week, dropping an ugly game – at home, no less – to the visiting Spartans in which Michigan State held Northwestern to four first-half field goals.
But Chris Collins' squad rebounded on Sunday, coming away with a hard-fought 66-61 overtime victory. Bryant McIntosh, Tre Demps and Alex Olah all scored in double figures, while the latter pulled down 13 rebounds.
Grade: Despite the poor showing in the MSU game, the 'Cats are trending in the right direction. First conference victory of the calendar year? B.
Men's tennis had an all-around stellar day on Feb. 8, when they took down No. 30 Harvard and dealt previously undefeated Valparaiso its first loss of the season.
In the Harvard match, Fedor Baev, Strong Kirchheimer and Alp Horoz each came out on top in must-win games when Northwestern was faced with a 3-1 deficit, giving the 26th-ranked 'Cats a narrow 4-3 win. Grade: A+
Facing an always tough Virginia Cavaliers squad in Atlanta, Northwestern locked it down on defense and received two key goals from sophomore Sheila Nesselbush to pick up a 6-5 win.
The 'Cats are 2-0 on the season and face Duke on Thursday in Northbrook, Illinois before traveling to Milwaukee to face Marquette on Saturday. Grade: A
After posting a 35-18 record last season that saw Northwestern advance to the NCAA Seattle Regional championship game, coach Kate Drohan's team hasn't lived up to the expectations in 2015. The 'Cats dropped all four of their games last week, including a 12-3 drubbing at the hands of the 12th-ranked UCLA Bruins. On Saturday, Northwestern nearly made a lacrosse-esque comeback, but UNLV's six-run first inning was too much to overcome in the 8-7 loss.
Andrea DiPrima and Andrea Filler are each hitting .348 with a pair of homers on the season, but Northwestern has a team ERA of 5.66. That won't get the job done. Grade: D+
After hitting a mid-season rut, the women's basketball team ensured it would avoid a meltdown like last season's seven-game skid. The 'Cats won all three of their games last week, each in exciting fashion.
On Feb. 8, Northwestern held Illinois to 29.7 percent shooting in the second half to pick up a 64-58 win, then beat Purdue the following Wednesday in an overtime contest that saw the 'Cats trail by as many as 14 points. Four players accounted for 62 of the team's 73 points, and Nia Coffey picked up yet another double double.
Coffey did it again on Saturday against Michigan, with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Her last two points came on a game-winning layup that gave Northwestern a (much-needed) 63-62 win. Grade: A+
On Feb. 8, 23rd-ranked Northwestern dropped a narrow contest – 22-19 – to No. 24 Rutgers, despite wins by Jason Tsirtsis, Pierce Harger, Mike McMullan, Garrison White and Alex Polizzi.
Harger followed up with another win on Friday in a 26-18 win over Maryland, the 100th victory of his collegiate career in the final home match of the year. Grade: B