Women’s Basketball: Northwestern falls just short of Purdue


Daily file photo by Meghan White

Senior forward Kendall Hackney attempts to block a shot. Hackney had 17 points in the Wildcats’ losing effort against Purdue.

Ariel Yong, Reporter

All the Wildcats needed were five more minutes.

After a big win against in-state rival Illinois earlier this week, Northwestern looked to extend its win streak to two as they took on the 15th/13th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers Thursday night in their Big Ten Network debut in West Lafayette, Indiana. But the Cats’ late game rally proved to be just short.

“Too little, too late,” coach Joe McKeown said. “We played really hard in the second half. Probably not hard enough in the first half. (But I’m) proud of our effort and our fight.”

Purdue jumped out to an early lead in just the first three minutes. The Boilermakers’ Courtney Moses, who ranks seventh in the conference in 3-point field goals made, exploded from beyond the arc, hitting Purdue’s first 8 points to give the them an 8-3 lead over the Cats. However, NU took a timeout and emerged with new energy.

Sophomore guard Karly Roser hit a jumper and the NU defense turned on the heat, forcing five Boilermaker turnovers. NU closed the game to one point on a jumper by senior forward Kendall Hackney and then took the lead on a 3-pointer by freshman forward Maggie Lyon. The Cats stunned Purdue’s offense and went off on a 9-0 run, but it wouldn’t last long.

The Boilermakers responded with an 8-0 run, and the Cats had no answer. NU went scoreless for four minutes as Purdue wreaked havoc from beyond the arc. The Cats’ defense did their best to contain Moses and managed to run the shot clock down on Purdue on a few possessions. But the Boilermakers shot the lights out and only missed one 3-pointer the entire first half, knocking down five of six attempts. The Cats shot a mere 16.7 percent from beyond the arc but were down by only 12 points going into halftime.

The Boilermarkers opened the second half with a 12-6 run, but this time the Cats had an answer. Purdue went cold, and the Cats took advantage with a 12-2 run. A 3-pointer by Hackney pulled NU within 6 points as the Cats clawed their way back into the game.

“In the first half, Moses really burned us on a lot of threes,” Lyon said. “We just didn’t follow through. Our energy was kind of lacking in the first half. (But then) we picked it up. We took better shots. We tried to work it inside and out. Once we started doing that and executing what our game plan was, we finally showed up in the second half.”

The two teams traded baskets for the last eight-and-a-half minutes as the game went down to the wire. The Cats ran the shot clock down on Purdue and got the ball back with less than a minute. Hackney was fouled under the basket and knocked down both of her free throws to put the Cats within 4 points with 38.6 seconds left.

“We did a really good job sharing the ball,” senior forward Dannielle Diamant said. “That was the big emphasis at halftime was to get the ball in and then that frees up the outside shooters. I think we did a better job of that in the second half.”

A deep 3 by Diamant put the Cats within 2, but the Boilermakers hit their free throws to keep the Cats from taking the lead. The Cats were down by 4 points with less than 10 seconds left, but NU fell a little short as Purdue escaped with the victory.

However, the Cats shot an impressive 51.9 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc in the second half. And to top it off, NU made all 11 of its free throws. The NU defense held the Boilermakers to only 32.4 percent from the field, well below their average of 44.7 percent.