Women’s Basketball: 23-point 2nd half margin buries Cats

Zach Buchanan

Three Northwestern players scored in double digits, but it wasn’t enough as Iowa ran away with a 74-46 victory.

The Wildcats (5-13, 1-6 Big Ten) kept it close through the first half to trail only 29-24 at halftime, but the Hawkeyes (11-7, 4-3) convincingly pulled away in the second period for the 28-point win.

“I think in the second half we didn’t really show up,” said NU center Amy Jaeschke. “But in the first half we played them to a five-point game, so that’s one thing that we can build off of for the next game.”

The Cats had trouble finding a rhythm on offense, often hurrying shots instead of using the entire shot clock. NU began relying on threes once Iowa had established a firm lead midway through the second half. This high-risk, high-reward strategy was employed to narrow the gap, but failed when NU made only five of 21 long-distance attempts.

“Some nights, shots don’t fall,” said freshman NU forward Brittany Orban, who scored a career- and team- high 13 points. “Maybe then we need to look to drive more and try to get some fouls instead of just throwing up threes.”

The struggles outside were compounded by struggles inside the paint. Jaeschke, at 6-foot-5, found little success inside against 6-foot-6-inch Hawkeyes center Megan Skouby. While Jaeschke had many open looks near the basket, few of them fell. She finished with 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting; many of her field goals came on mid-range jumpers rather than layups.

While the Cats were able to cause chaos on defense, forcing 14 turnovers, they were unable to stop the strong Hawkeye offense. Iowa forward JoAnn Hamlin killed NU early, finishing with 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting, and guard Hannah Draxten punished them late, going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and finishing with 13 points. Guard Kachine Alexander recorded a triple-double with 10 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds.

NU went into its full-court press trailing by 18 with 5:18 left in the game, hoping to force turnovers and get the ball back. But the Hawkeyes dissected the Cats’ press to get open jumpers and layups and ended the game on a 14-4 run.

On the other end of the court, NU tried to score just as quickly as Iowa by throwing up threes early in the shot clock. Orban said a little more patience could have gone a long way.

“That’s just something we have to work on – pushing and pulling, as coach calls it, and being able to run the offense and get the right looks,” she said. “We should have relied a little more on our sets and not have been in such a rush.”