Upperclassmen have developed unspoken connection (Women’s Basketball)

David Morrison

Junior forward A.J. Glasauer and senior forward Ifeoma Okonkwo sat next to each other by the scorer’s table with 3:11 left in Northwestern’s 93-77 drubbing of Creighton on Saturday.

Their relaxed posture and easy conversation gave no evidence of the of the 45 losses each had experienced over the last two years.

It also said nothing of the past disappointments suffered by these two elder stateswomen, the only holdovers from the June Olkowski era of the six in their recruiting classes.

Or of the combined 48 points the two put up against the Creighton defense, including a career-high 26 from Glasauer, who is in her first year as a regular starter.

The two combined for 16.7 points per game last year.

“They’re fantastic players and I said that from day one. The only two people that can stop (Okonkwo) and (Glasauer) are (Okonkwo) and (Glasauer),” coach Beth Combs said. “When they’re on and they’re confident and they have fun, I think they’re some of the best players in our conference.”

This understanding also makes its way on to the court, where Glasauer and Okonkwo have grasped each other’s tendencies from so much time paying together.

“It works really well,” Glasauer said. “It’s just blind understanding. I know how fast she runs, I know where she runs. I just throw the ball in the middle of the court. I know she will catch it. It’s a really good understanding between (Okonkwo) and me.”

Glasauer and Okonkwo’s “blind understanding” makes it difficult for defenses to cover them when they’re on the court.

On a three-on-one fast break midway through the second half, Glasauer dribbled the ball into the paint and looked to Okonkwo on the right wing.

The Creighton defender jumped right, expecting another feed from Glasauer, who had six assists. Glasauer held on to the ball and glided in for an easy lay-up.

Understanding.

It’s what allowed them to be so calmly and confidently talking to each other on the sideline, watching their team hold a comfortable lead against a team they were 1-3 against heading into the game.

The substitution horn sounded. Okonkwo and Glasauer rose and made their way to the court.

Time to get back to work.

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