Before we get into this week’s festivities, some football news to report. Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com reports that Nick VanHoose, Damien Proby and Jack Konopka will all sit out spring practice with various injuries. Many of them are recovering from offseason surgeries and all are expected to return for fall practice. In addition, Paul Jorgensen, Kyle Prater, Will Hampton, Deonte Gibson and Matt Frazier will also be out for the spring.
These are all players that figure to compete for playing time in the fall. Again, these are not major injuries, just something worth noting as the team enters spring practice and allocates playing time and repetitions. Hopefully they all have speedy recoveries.
On to the Wildcat of the Week…
This week was a rough week for men’s basketball and lacrosse. But it was a good week overall for Northwestern in several other sports. Softball took home a 5-0 sweep at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, Calif., with a bunch of come-from-behind victories and seventh-inning drama. Maggie Lyon continued her tear through the Big Ten for the women’s basketball team. It was a good weekend for Northwestern sports.
So who is the Wildcat of the Week?
We will give it Maggie Lyon from the women’s basketball team. And the simple reason is that she is not getting enough press here for the kind of season she is having.
This past week, Lyon scored 11 points in a 54-45 loss at Michigan State. She then followed it up with a 13-point effort in a 54-52 come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin. Lyon gave the Wildcats the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 1:47 left, erasing a double-digit deficit from early in the second half and going neck and neck with the Badgers down the stretch.
This is not the first time Lyon has played the hero. And coach Joe McKeown thinks Lyon should get some major recognition for it:
I’m just glad Maggie Lyon, who to me is one of the premier freshmen in the country, kept making plays at the end of the game. Those three’s that she made were daggers and we really needed that so I’m really proud of her and how we fought. It was a little crazy finish there where it was kind of chaotic so, it was a really good win, and in really late February you just want to get out of there with a W.
Talking about Freshman of the Year is something that may very well come up soon. Lyon is averaging 12.7 points per game, second best on the team. As Jim Sannes of WNUR points out, Lyon has now won three Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, including the last two (she could very well add a third straight Tuesday), is shooting 56.4 percent from the floor her last four games and has scored at least 10 points in 10 consecutive games.
Did I mention she is a freshman and part of a really strong class? Northwestern is hanging around .500, but hopefully her strong play is a harbinger of things to come.
Luke Farrell, Baseball: The senior pitcher struck out a career high 12 batters in six innings to get his first win of the season in Northwestern’s 11-4 win over Lipscomb to wrap up a 3-1 weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. It was the most strikeouts for a Northwestern pitcher since J.A. Happ struck out 16 in May 2003. It was his first appearance of the season and a great start to the year for the senior. Last year, Farrell was 2-4 with a team-worst 6.10 ERA, appearing in 19 games and making seven starts. Great to see Farrell improve and step up in his first start of the year.
Anna Edwards, Softball: It was a weekend of comebacks in Cathedral City, Calif., for Northwestern at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The biggest win came against No. 4 Tennessee on Friday as the team completed a perfect 5-0 weekend. The sophomore recorded the game-winning RBI when she hit a double in the bottom of the seventh inning of a tie game, scoring pinch runner Fran Strub off a fielding error in center field. Edwards is hitting .347 on the season and 12 RBIs and two home runs to her name. This past weekend, she went 5 for 17 with three RBIs this past weekend.
Amanda Macaluso, Lacrosse: Macaluso helped Northwestern bounce back from the loss to North Carolina last weekend with a five-point, three-goal effort against Vanderbilt in the ALC opener. Northwestern defeated Vanderbilt 15-8 to bounce back from the 11-8 loss at North Carolina. Macaluso recorded a goal int he second half of the lost to North Carolina, bringing the team within two goals in the failed comeback effort. Still, the Wildcats bounced back strong to get the important conference win. And that is a good sign for Northwestern moving forward.