Michigan State survives late Northwestern comeback, 71-64


Sarah Smith

Matilda Ekh dribbles towards the lane during Michigan State’s overtime loss to Purdue on December 5, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Jay DeCoster, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

Evanston, Ill. — The Michigan State women’s basketball team (10-5) extended its winning streak to four games after a late Northwestern comeback that fell short in a 71-64 win at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

“Anytime you can win on the road in the Big Ten, it’s a good thing,” said head coach Suzy Merchant. “They [Northwestern] can play zone so you need to be able to hit shots. I thought there were stretches where we played well and other stretches where we didn’t play well.”

The Spartans started the contest slowly, shooting 2-7 from the field and trailing early to the Wildcats. Northwestern came out shooting 9-13 from the field. Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel would cut into the early deficit in the first quarter with a three-pointer, making it 20-15. 

Sophomore forward Matilda Ekh helped propel the Spartans’ comeback in the second quarter, shooting 5-6 from deep and recording 17 points at the half. The sophomore from Sweden recorded a season-high 21 points and posted double figures for the 10th time this season. 

“We were moving her [Ekh] as much as we could so it made it hard for them to follow her on a cut every single time,” Merchant said. “We moved her around enough that I thought it caused them the inability to hone in on her.”

Senior forward Taiyier Parks continued to be a presence on the glass for the Spartans, putting up 17 points and 6 rebounds and was one the team leaders in the scoring department. 

MSU hit a trio of three-pointers to extend its lead to 62-49 in the third quarter, led by junior guard Julia Ayrault hitting two threes to widen the margin. 

Northwestern started the fourth quarter on fire, scoring six of the first eight points and cutting the deficit to 64-55. The Wildcats outscored the Spartans 15-9. 

MSU guard Moira Joiner would put the game out of reach thanks to two late free throws to extend the Spartan lead to seven. 

The Spartans will stay on the road this week as they prepare to take on Maryland on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 1 p.m.