Women's Basketball: Cats remain winless in Big Ten

Meghan White/Daily Senior Staffer

Freshman forward Maggie Lyon looks to create offense against Illinois. Lyon and the Wildcats struggled on the offensive end, shooting just over 30 percent and turning the ball over 34 times.

Rohan Nadkarni, Sports Editor
January 10, 2013 •

Northwestern couldn't even keep it close this time.

After back-to-back losses in the Big Ten, each by 4 points, the Wildcats (8-8, 0-3 Big Ten) fell big to in-state rival Illinois, 65-47. NU's anemic offense all but assured its third straight conference loss. Guard Adrienne Godbold led the Fighting Illini with 20 points.

"The game got away from us, it was sloppy," coach Joe McKeown said. "We had some chances, but we didn't take advantage. We just turned the ball over in the second half. It's just really frustrating because we worked against their pressure all week."

For the Cats, putting the ball in the basket turned out to be a very tough task. NU shot 30.8 percent on 16-of-52 shooting. The first half was especially rough – the Cats only hit five shots on 20 percent shooting. In fact, the offense gave away the ball more than twice as often as they made field goals, finishing the game with 34 turnovers.

"At times we were really aggressive," freshman forward Maggie Lyon said. "Sometimes it was to our disadvantage that we were playing like that. At times I felt like it was a little hectic and we were playing at their pace instead of trying to control the game."

Sophomore point guard Karly Roser particularly struggled against the Illinois defense. After hitting the game-winning free throw against her in-state rival last season, Roser this year managed only 2 points and did not make any field goals. Her four assists were cancelled out by her 15 turnovers.

Still, the Cats only trailed by 4 after the first half. But the Fighting Illini pulled away in the second, scoring a whopping 42 of their 65 points.

"There were some times in the second half when it was a little hectic," Lyon said. "We weren't playing our game, we were a little out of control, people weren't looking where they were passing."

NU was left in a worse position when senior forward Kendall Hackney fouled out after playing 30 minutes. Hackney led the Cats in scoring with 14 points – the only NU player in double digits – and also had the fewest turnovers for any player with more than 20 minutes on the court.

The Cats' gameplan entering the contest was to limit Illinois' Karisma Penn. For the most part, NU was successful. The Cats held Penn to 13 points on 3-of-9 shooting, with the forward doing most of her damage at the free throw line. Penn also committed seven turnovers without recording a single assist.

But McKeown had no answer for Godbold, who went 8-of-18 from the field and went to the line six times, hitting four of her attempts. Godbold was also disruptive on the defensive end, racking up five steals and a block in 38 minutes. Guard Amber Moore also played 38 minutes and finished only behind Godbold in scoring with 16 points for the Fighting Illini. Moore was 5-of-11 from the field and did most of her damage from behind the 3-point line, where she hit four of her nine attempts.

"I think they did a good job of controlling the tempo," senior center Dannielle Diamant said. "They did a really good job of pushing the floor when they needed to do it."

NU did compete more than admirably on the defensive end. The Cats held their conference to only 33.3 percent shooting and forced 26 turnovers.

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