Cats’ shooting woes hit rock bottom in 11-for-56 outing (Women’s Basketball)

avid Kalan

Sunday’s loss to Penn State provided evidence that Northwestern is not close to curing its shooting woes. If anything, the offensive problems may only be getting worse.

“We didn’t put the ball in the hole, and it gave them a lot of momentum,” coach Beth Combs said. “We got frustrated with ourselves. We missed open shots, we missed open looks, we stopped playing defense and it just continued to unwind and we couldn’t get ourselves out of the hole.”

The Wildcats shot a season low 19.6 percent from the field on Sunday, going 11 for 56. The Cats shot 14.8 percent in a dismal first half where they netted only four baskets.

NU was left perplexed by an outing that saw numerous shots rim out.

“I can’t explain it,” said guard Nadia Bibbs, who was the lone player to finish in double figures with 10 points. “The shots aren’t falling.”

NU’s 11 buckets were fewer than the 12 steals recorded by Penn State, and less than half of the 23 turnovers the Cats commited.

The lack of scoring reached its nadir in the first half when NU endured a field goal drought that lasted more than 15 minutes.

“I think we just passed up a lot of really easy, open shots and tried to force it a little too much when open shots were there and we just weren’t taking them,” said forward Melissa Miller, whose jumper with 59 seconds to go in the first half ended the dry spell. “We were just being a little hesitant on offense. When you think twice about it, it’s never going to go in.”

Despite the poor field goal percentage, NU made 23 of its 26 free throws, a rate that Combs wryly attributed to “practicing shooting free throws.”

The high average at the charity stripe only makes NU’s shooting woes more puzzling.

“I don’t think it was the defense, I think it was just us,” forward Kristin Cartwright said. “We were getting good shots, good wide-open shots. It wasn’t the defense.

“Some days they just don’t go in.”

Unfortunately for the Cats, those days are starting to come more often than not.

Reach David Kalan at [email protected]