Women’s Basketball: Turnovers doom Northwestern versus Michigan

Steven Montero

Maybe Northwestern simply got confused. Maybe it was the purple floor.

Coach Joe McKeown had no real explanations as to why NU fell apart Thursday night against Michigan, losing 58-48.

With 18 turnovers in the first half and 26 overall, the Wildcats kept handing possession over to Michigan, allowing the Wolverines to accumulate an 11-point lead with two and a half minutes left before halftime.

“That was really, very unlike us,” McKeown said. “They’re a good defensive team but to have 18 turnovers in the half, we average less than that in a game. That was the difference to me in the game.”

NU averages 18.3 turnovers this season, including the statistics from the Michigan matchup. Equaling that average before the first buzzer was a detriment to the team and the Cats “ran out of gas,” McKeown said.

Turnovers were a problem for NU in past games this season. At Ohio State, the Buckeyes scored 30 points off the Cats’ slipups. Thursday, NU gave up another 22 points.

“We were just careless,” junior forward Danielle Diamant said. “We were careless with the ball.”

Michigan coach Kevin Borseth said the Wolverines’ defense did a great job of keeping the Cats out of reach, forcing turnovers, despite their “lethargic” start to the game.

Several three-second violations called consecutively against NU in the first half gave Michigan extra chances while limiting the Cats’ ability to respond to the Wolverines’ scoring momentum, which went unanswered for more than six minutes.

Freshman guard Morgan Jones, who had a team-high 14 points of the night and took more shots at the basket than any player on the court, said shots weren’t falling. Jones went 5-of-17 from the court and committed 5 turnovers.

Borseth said his players did not take advantage of the turnovers as much as they should have. He said the best case scenario would have been scoring off of every steal or NU mishandle.

The second half went better for the Cats, cutting their turnover count down to eight and going on a scoring drive of their own.

“We just took care of the ball better,” Diamant said. “We made it a point at halftime that 18 turnovers is not acceptable. I feel like the first half we played defense very well and then second half it was kind of reversed. We played offense better and our defense was slacking.”

The Wildcats placed a lot of emphasis on their developments playing as a team game before Thursday, but on-court miscommunication as well as frustration created mistakes.

McKeown said he was unsure as to why his team could not connect on the hardwood.

“Sometimes you don’t have a great answer,” he said. “I have to watch the tape to figure out why we couldn’t reverse the ball, get the shots we got in the second half. Instead we threw it to Michigan a lot.”

[email protected]