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Northwestern 79, Louisiana State 75

March 23, 1996

AMARILLO, Texas _ Megan Chawansky scored 21 points as Northwestern hung on to beat Louisiana State 79-75 Friday in a winners’ bracket semifinal of the women’s NIT.

Michele Ratay iced the game for the second-seeded Wildcats (23-10) with two free throws with five seconds left.

Northwestern moved into Saturday’s championship game against either top-seeded Arkansas and fifth-seeded Arizona. Third-seeded LSU (20-11) will face the Arkansas-Arizona loser in the consolation game Saturday.

Chawansky led three teammates in double figures. Ratay had 18 points and seven rebounds, Christina Braden scored 18 points and Kristina Divjak added 17.

Elaine Powell scored 18 of her 32 points in the second half to keep LSU within striking distance. Northwestern grabbed the game’s biggest lead at 71-58 on a free throw by Mary Connolly with 6:10 left to play.

But LSU outscored Northwestern 17-6 in the next six minutes, including a short pullup jumper by Powell to make the score 77-75 with five seconds left.

But Ratay was fouled before the ensuing inbounds play and converted both free throws.

Pietra Gay, who sank all three of her 3-pointers in the second half, scored 15 points for LSU.