Still fresh off the men’s loss to Minnesota the night before, Northwestern squared off again in Minneapolis on Thursday night for a rematch played by the women. The Wildcat women managed to keep it closer than the men, but still fell by a final score of 63-58.
Scapegoat | Rebounders
A general malaise took hold of Northwestern’s players, as Minnesota outrebounded the ‘Cats by a margin of 46-34, including 21-11 on the offensive glass. The additional 10 possessions that the ‘Cats yielded didn’t translate into a huge point differential, but the additional chances did enough to stand out in the final margin.
After the game, Coach Joe McKeown acknowledged as much: “When you give up 21 offensive rebounds, I’m not sure you deserve to win.”
Northwestern’s top two rebounders in Amy Jaeschke and Brittany Orban, averaging a combined 17 rebounds per game entering tonight’s contest, mustered only six on the road. Tailor Jones and Kendall Hackney did their part, managing 14 caroms total, but the damage proved fatal in the endgame.
Stat of the Game | 18-for-22
After registering a measly three trips to the line in the first half, Minnesota responded aggressively at the break, going to the line 22 times and converting 18 freebies. Both teams shot poorly in the second half (Northwestern scored eight field goals in the second half, Minnesota scored nine), but the ‘Cats could only produce a 9-of-14 performance at the line after halftime, nearly identical to the first half (11-of-13). The momentum shifted to the maroon and gold, and the aggression paid off in the end.
Turning Point | The Final Possession
A high-pressure final minute left the ‘Cats down three with 14.7 seconds left, and a mad scramble at the end left backup center Dannielle Diamant no choice but to hoist a last-gasp three-pointer that missed and sealed NU’s fate. The Gophers would convert one more free throw to officially put the game out of reach, and the Wildcats left Minneapolis with a bad taste and a now season-worst three-game losing streak.
Armchair GM | Maintain mo’
Northwestern never gets an easy Big Ten opponent; the conference parity is too balanced to assume any game is a W, especially on the road during the middle of the week in Winter Quarter. The ‘Cats fought hard in the first half and entered the locker room up four, but the high-intensity second half act caught NU a little by surprise. Give credit to the ladies, however; a fierce battle that saw the lead change eight times simply fell unfavorably. Motivated by their first back-to-back-to-back losses this season, the Wildcats will vent their frustrations against visiting Wisconsin on Sunday 2 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Editors’ note: Conveniently enough, there WILL be shuttles provided for Northwestern students who wish to attend Sunday’s contest. Shuttles will be operating an hour before and after the game, including the Feb. 13 contest against Iowa, also on a Sunday.