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Women’s Basketball: Northwestern hopes for complete game against Indiana

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Women’s Basketball: Northwestern hopes for complete game against Indiana

Freshman forward Lauren Douglas rises for a shot. Douglas and Northwestern have been a strong second half team this season, but will need a complete effort to topple Indiana on the road.

Freshman forward Lauren Douglas rises for a shot. Douglas and Northwestern have been a strong second half team this season, but will need a complete effort to topple Indiana on the road.

Daily file photo by Meghan White

Freshman forward Lauren Douglas rises for a shot. Douglas and Northwestern have been a strong second half team this season, but will need a complete effort to topple Indiana on the road.

Daily file photo by Meghan White

Daily file photo by Meghan White

Freshman forward Lauren Douglas rises for a shot. Douglas and Northwestern have been a strong second half team this season, but will need a complete effort to topple Indiana on the road.

Ariel Yong, Reporter

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The Wildcats know how to turn it on in the second half.

Northwestern (9-10, 1-5 Big Ten) fell to Purdue 77-73 last Thursday, but it wasn’t without a fight. The Cats were down by as many as 19 points but managed to close the game within 2 late in the second half to give the Boilermakers a run for their money.

“We pushed the ball a little better (in the second half),” coach Joe McKeown said. “We (got) the ball up the floor a little quicker. But we just didn’t make great decisions all the time.”

Despite scoring a mere 28 total points in the first half, NU scored a whopping 45 points in the final 20 minutes of the game. Senior forward Kendall Hackney and freshman forward Lauren Douglas both scored in the double digits in the last 20 minutes, and the team as a whole went an impressive 66.7 percent from beyond the arc in the second half.

With just over 7 minutes left in the game, a string of 3-pointers by Hackney, Douglas and freshman forward Maggie Lyon put the Cats within 8, which helped kick start the late game rally.

“In the second half, we were doing a good job of getting it inside and then that opens the outside,” Lyon said. “So I think everybody was finding each other and we were getting good open looks and fortunately knocking them down.”

In fact, this is not the first time the Cats have come through late in the game to keep the contest close. In its first conference win over Illinois last week, NU scored 37 second-half points to emerge victorious over the Fighting Illini, 62-58. Hackney scored 5 straight points to keep the Cats in the game and finished with 21 points. Senior forward Dannielle Diamant, sophomore forward Alex Cohen and Lyon also scored in the double digits. 

The Cats will look to keep up their shooting game when they face Indiana (10-9, 1-5) Monday night.

The Hoosiers are on a four game skid but did record their last win of the season against the Cats on January 6. Indiana has been struggling on the offensive side, scoring an average of only 43 points in their last four games.

Offensive struggles have been a season long story for Indiana. The Hoosiers are shooting only 38.3 percent from the field this season. The Cats’ success in the second half could prove critical on Monday –  Indiana has been outscored by 31 points by opponents in the game’s final 20 minutes.

However, the Cats will need to find a way to better contain Indiana’s Aulani Sinclair, who scored 31 points in the last contest between these two teams. Sinclair ranks 4th in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage, averaging 40.9 percent from beyond the arc and almost 18 points per game. 

NU should have a serious advantage playing at home. Indiana is only 2-4 in away games this season. In fact, the Hoosiers haven’t had any success on the road in 2013, securing their last road win in November against Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

But for the Hoosiers’ shortcomings on offense, they have competed hard on defense. Opponents are shooting only 37 percent against Indiana from the field, including a dismal 28.7 percent from 3-point territory. The Hoosiers also average 5.9 steals and 4.1 blocks per game.

“We can do anything we set our minds to,” Diamant said. “We showed (it) in the second half (when) we were down by 18, 20 points and then we brought it back to 2. We can be a great team, but we just have to play like we know how.”

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