EVANSTON, Ill. - Sophomore guard Jessica Green scored a career-high 25 points and tied a career high with six steals, but the Central Michigan women's basketball team was unable to overcome hot shooting by Northwestern in an 82-72 loss at Welsh-Ryan Arena Sunday afternoon.
The Wildcats (2-0) shot 52.5 percent in the game, including 69.2 percent (18-for-26) in the second half, and were able to hold off a rally by the Chippewas (1-1) late in the second half.
Trailing by 12, 66-54, after a three from Lauren Douglas with 8:13 to go in the game the Chippewas went on a 7-0 run capped on a steal by senior Brandie Baker and fast break layup by Green in which the sophomore was fouled and hit the free throw to pull within four, 66-62. The lay up and free throw allowed Green to set a new career high.
After a free throw by the Wildcats' Karly Roser, junior Taylor Johnson hit a three to pull CMU within two, 67-65, at 5:27 mark, but that would be as close as the Chippewas would get.
Northwestern promptly went on a 7-0 run behind the play of its freshmen Maggie Lyon and Douglas as the two players scored six of the seven points to push the Wildcats' lead back to nine, 74-65. A layup and free throw by freshman Jas'Mine Bracey cut the deficit to six, 74-68, but NW was able to hit its free throws down the stretch to seal the game.
"We dug ourselves a hole in the first half," head coach Sue Guevara said. "We picked up our intensity in the second half and got it within two with our press and then we turned it over. Then we missed a layup. We had a couple things that snowballed on us."
Central and Northwestern battled back and forth throughout most of the first half with the Wildcats grabbing an early 9-7 lead on a jumper by Douglas at the 15:43 mark before junior Niki DiGuilio gave the Chippewas their first lead with a deep three 36 seconds later, 10-9.
The Wildcats were able to reclaim the lead and held no more than a four-point advantage the rest of the half until the final seconds when Roser hit a layup with three seconds left and Lyon picked off the ensuing inbound pass only to hit a three at the buzzer to send the Chippewas to the locker room trailing by nine, 33-24.
Despite a tremendous offensive output by Johnson in the second half in which she scored 15 of her 17 points, the Chippewas were unable to chip away at the Wildcats' lead until the run under the eight-minute mark.
Sophomore Crystal Bradford gave the Chippewas three players in double figures as she recorded her second double-double in as many games, finishing the night with 12 points and 10 boards.
Douglas led five Wildcats in double figures with 20 points, while Kendall Hackney and Roser each had 15, Lyon 13 and Dannielle Diamant 12.
The Chippewas continue their season-opening three-game road trip next Saturday at No. 25 Green Bay before returning home for their home opener Nov. 23 versus South Dakota State.