Nebraska Wesleyan did not back down as they faced the No. 1 ranked Northwestern Red Raiders and trailed by just three points in the final two minutes before Northwestern held on for the 79-71 victory in GPAC women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 8) at Snyder Arena.
The Red Raiders (17-1, 8-0 GPAC) led by as many as 18 points in the second half, but NWU did not give up. The Prairie Wolves went on a 14-2 run during a five minute span and Sadie Struebing pulled NWU within two points at 68-66 with 2:57 to play.
Northwestern answered with a basket, but Katy Golden nailed a 3-pointer at the top of the key with the shot clock running down to pull NWU within one point at 70-69.
NWU then had a chance to take the lead, but Becca Hurley picked off a pass and went the full length of the court to convert an old fashioned 3-point play as she was fouled on the layup.
Another turnover gave the ball right back to Northwestern and they made another jumper to take a six point lead. On the next possession for NWU, Katy Golden made two free throws to cut the lead to 75-71. NWU would not score again as the Red Raiders went 4-4 at the foul line to close the game.
NWU, which has now lost eight straight games, led for the first 12 minutes of the game over the No. 1 ranked team in NAIA II. Northwestern took their first lead of the game at the 7:56 mark of the first half. The Red Raiders led by nine points at halftime. They opened the second half on a 9-0 run to extend the lead to 18 points.
Four players scored in double figures for NWU led by Sadie Struebing who had a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Shea Rasmussen scored 17 points on 5-7 from 3-point range. Mallory Shanahan had 14 points, while Katy Golden chipped in 13.
Becca Hurley scored a game-high 26 points on 14-14 at the free throw line to lead Northwestern.