Northwestern held off a pesky Indiana squad that was looking for its first Big Ten win, 68-61, on Sunday at Welsh-Ryan Arena. NU held a 12-point lead with 13:55 left in the game, but the Hoosiers were able to cut the lead to just 64-61 with 47 seconds remaining. But the Wildcats, thanks to some clutch free throw shooting by Dannielle Diamant, managed to hang on, despite not hitting a field goal in the last 5:36 of the game.
The win improves the Wildcats to 13-9 overall, 3-6 in conference. Diamant, who sat for most of the first half in foul trouble, finished with a game high 22 points and 11 rebounds. Morgan Jones added 17 points, and Kendall Hackney had 16 points and 11 boards. The WIldcats' depth may be rounding into form, as NU played 10 players, just the second time this season -- and first since Dec. 30 -- they've had that many participating.
Now comes a daunting make-or-break stretch for the Wildcats. NU plays at Michigan on Thursday, at Michigan State on Feb. 9, home against No. 19 Penn State on Feb. 12, then at No. 21 Nebraska on Feb. 16. All of them tough games against likely NCAA tournament teams, except Michigan State, which is on the bubble. If the Wildcats are to have a chance at the tournament, they'll need to come out of this stretch at least 2-2, unless, of course, they plan on winning the Big Ten tournament to get the conference's automatic bid.