Sophomore forward Nia Coffey powered Northwestern to six straight victories in February, but on Sunday they cruised through the ending and made it seven without her.
The ‘Cats leading scorer fouled out with 21.6 left in regulation, but Maggie Lyon drilled a last second jumper to cap a 15-point comeback and send the game into overtime. Northwestern (21-6, 11-5) went on to defeat Wisconsin (8-18, 4-12) 86-83 on the road.
The contest did not lack for dramatics. The 'Cats got the ball down 68-70 with 19.2 seconds to play. Their chances flickered out when Lauren Douglas’ layup attempt bounced with 10 seconds left, but Alex Cohen leapt for consecutive offensive boards before diving to secure a jump-ball that set up the Lyons shot.
In overtime, Northwestern took a commanding 80-72 lead. However, the Badgers drove back against an undersized Coffey-less defense. But down 83-85, Wisconsin guard AnnMarie Brown missed an open layup, all but sealing a Wildcat victory.
An entire game of missed Badger opportunities presaged the final botched layup. Wisconsin, heavy underdogs against streaking Northwestern, jumped out to an eight-point lead at half time. They stretched the deficit to 15 with 9:50 to play.
Though Coffey sat out overtime, she carried the ‘Cats back in regulation. A three with 9:11 left sent the Wildcats on a six minute, 23-10 run and brought the contest to within two points. Coffey collected ten of those points, as well as three steals, to lead the drive. The contest brought Coffey’s stretch of six straight double-doubles to a close, but she finished with 21 points.
But Coffey wasn't the only one with a good night – sophomore guard Christen Inman scored ten points in her first start since suffering a leg injury on Feb. 7.
The Wildcats will look to continue their undefeated February at home against Rutgers Thursday night.