Northwestern’s top-tier defense returned in full force for the second straight game Thursday night, as the Wildcats (16-6, 6-5) forced 20 turnovers and edged out Indiana (13-9, 3-8), 75-69 at Assembly Hall.
Maggie Lyon dropped 16 points, Alex Cohen blocked five Hoosier shots and Nia Coffey grabbed 12 boards and four steals. The win is the Wildcats’ second straight, after a 2-5 skid culminated in a 99-102 loss at Iowa last Thursday night.
Indiana broke out to a 12-4 lead less than four minutes in, but that was as far apart as the score got. Christen Inman quickly dropped in a layup to spark a 6-0 Northwestern run. The 'Cats barely trailed the Hoosiers for most of the first half.
They caught up with 6:29 left. Alex Cohen drilled a pair of free throws to give Northwestern a 25-24 advantage, but credit the defense for this victory.
Two steals, three offensive rebounds and a blocked shot kept the rock in Northwestern territory even as the Wildcats missed six straight shots. Finally, an Indiana three woke Inman and Cohen. They drilled consecutive layups to give Northwestern a 32-28 lead entering halftime
That lead dissipated quickly in the second period. A lay-up by Karlee McBride pulled Indiana to within one just over two minutes in.
But it was still anyone's game. There would be 13 more lead changes before Lyon finally knocked down a layup that put Northwestern up 61-59 with 5:08 left to play. The ‘Cats didn’t look back, turning out an 8-1 run and finally a 75-69 victory.
Northwestern returns home Sunday, where the 'Cats will look to roll two straight wins into a three-game streak against Illinois.