Women’s Basketball: Northwestern hopes shots fall against Michigan on Thursday

Steven Montero

Northwestern hopes February will mean an end to turnovers on the court and a turnaround of its record.

Traveling to Ann Arbor, Mich., Thursday, the Wildcats look to beat the Wolverines on their home court, much as Michigan did to NU two weeks ago.

“The mistakes that we made in that game we’ve really got to try to clean up going into tomorrow,” coach Joe McKeown said.

In the previous game, the Cats had a sluggish start and no control of the ball, turning the ball over 18 times in the first half, a statistic McKeown called “crazy” and “unacceptable”.

McKeown said he noticed NU becoming more confident in the last two matches, even in the loss to Purdue last Thursday, and especially in the Cats’ victory over Indiana on Sunday.

Michigan has lost its last two games, but the Wolverines remain a threat with the second-lowest turnover average and the second-best scoring defense in the Big Ten.

In its last meeting with Michigan, NU shot 36.5 percent for the game and made only seven field goals in the first half.

Meghan McKeown said the Cats worked on taking better shots, running through their offense and looking before they pass.

“For us it’s being able to control the tempo, get the offensive rebounds, really working the ball inside,” the sophomore guard said. “Dannielle Diamant has been unstoppable lately. Last time they played here, they couldn’t guard her so hopefully (Thursday) will be the same.”

Diamant earned her third consecutive double-double against Indiana, but the junior forward had only 12 points when the Wolverines visited Welsh-Ryan Arena on Jan. 19, 10 fewer than Sunday.

The poor shooting present in its last match gives freshman guard Karly Roser confidence that Thursday will be a better day for NU’s offense, she said.

Roser said the more than 11-minute stretch in the Jan. 19 contest, when the Cats only managed two points, was “ridiculous.” This game, they will focus on all the “little things” that Joe McKeown reiterates, including making better decisions on the court.

“We have to be balanced, getting more possessions by not turning the ball over so much,” McKeown said. “Trying to get better shots and I think that for us if the big key.”

Roser added that Michigan has some good three-point shooters in its starting lineup and NU must ensure the Wolverines don’t get open looks, especially from behind the arc. Michigan scored 27 points off three-point shots in the previous matchup.

She said her primary goal on Thursday is shutting down Courtney Boylan, Michigan’s second-highest scorer. Roser also said she wants to attack the basket and get open looks for teammates against the Wolverines.

Meghan McKeown said NU needs to have a great shooting day at Michigan to get the win.

“Some days with basketball, shots are going to fall or shots aren’t going to fall,” she said. “You have a game where you can go 5-for-5 and you have games where you go 0-for-12. It just is kind of the way the game works. Everyone’s been in the gym shooting, working it out so hopefully we’ll be making it rain on Thursday.”

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