Women’s Basketball: Wildcats return from up-and-down month
January 8, 2013
While many students were quick to leave campus and begin winter break festivities after Fall Quarter finals week, the women’s basketball team was hard at work during the holiday season, playing five games in three weeks.
Just two days after the official end of finals week, the Cats took on then-No. 9 California at home. Northwestern entered the game with a 6-3 record but ultimately fell to the Golden Bears 71-65 in a back-and-forth battle.
After missing the majority of the previous two games due to injury, senior forward Dannielle Diamant started for the Cats and posted her fourth double-double of the season. Diamant helped the Cats get off to a quick start as the team took advantage of California’s cold shooting and struggles at the free throw line. However, after 12 ties and 13 lead changes, the Cats were unable to hang on to the lead, and the Golden Bears pulled away.
NU announced after the California loss that junior guard Meghan McKeown would miss the remainder of the 2012-2013 season. She underwent hip surgery to correct an injury that had sidelined her earlier in the season.
Despite these setbacks, the Cats battled back and defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 73-69 in the New York Life Holiday Invitational. Led by senior forward Kendall Hackney, NU finished the game shooting 48.1 percent and limited the Rebels to a mere 34.3 percent from the field.
Hackney missed only three shots the entire game and went 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. She finished the game with 26 points, a season high for any NU player. Sophomore guard Karly Roser recorded her second double-double of the season as the Cats steamrolled the Rebels.
In their second game of the New York Life Holiday Invitational, the Cats fell 63-54 to the Hofstra University Pride. NU shot only 34.7 percent against the Pride as the Cats struggled to put the ball in the net. NU was scoreless for seven minutes of the first half and never held the lead, turning the ball over 27 times and converting only 9.1 percent from beyond the arc.
The game featured three players who received honors in the tournament. NU’s Hackney and freshman forward Lauren Douglas were named to the New York Life Holiday Invitational All-Tournament Team. The Pride was led by tournament MVP Shante Evans who finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds.
The Cats closed out 2012 with a home win over Chicago State on New Year’s Eve, trouncing the Cougars, 82-38. The Cats jumped out to a large early lead, scoring the first 12 points of the game. NU closed the half with a 10-0 run and never relinquished the lead. The Cats’ defense held the Cougars to 23.8 percent from the field.
Freshman forward Maggie Lyon returned from injury to play for the Cats for the first time since Dec. 2 and finished with 10 points. Roser added a career-high-tying 16 points and Douglas finished with 15. The 38 points scored by the Cougars almost beat the record for an opponent low under coach Joe McKeown
The Cats began the new year with their first Big Ten conference game against then-No. 9 Penn State at University Park in Pennsylvania. Much like their previous game against Chicago State, the Cats jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and led for the entire first half, shooting 51.7 percent from the field. The Nittany Lions did not hit their first shot until about four minutes into the game.
However, Penn State’s Maggie Lucas, who is currently tied for third in the Big Ten in scoring, had the hot hand in the second half. She finished the game with 24 points as the Nittany Lions continued to claw at the NU lead. The Cats managed to hold them off until both Hackney and Diamant fouled out in the second half, allowing Penn State to claim the lead for the rest of the game, winning 73-69.