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Women’s Basketball: Northwestern topples Indiana in Evanston

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Women’s Basketball: Northwestern topples Indiana in Evanston

Freshman forward Maggie Lyon surveys the court. Lyon scored 13 points on 50 percent shooting in Northwestern's win against Indiana.

Freshman forward Maggie Lyon surveys the court. Lyon scored 13 points on 50 percent shooting in Northwestern's win against Indiana.

Josh Walfish/Daily Senior Staffer

Freshman forward Maggie Lyon surveys the court. Lyon scored 13 points on 50 percent shooting in Northwestern's win against Indiana.

Josh Walfish/Daily Senior Staffer

Josh Walfish/Daily Senior Staffer

Freshman forward Maggie Lyon surveys the court. Lyon scored 13 points on 50 percent shooting in Northwestern's win against Indiana.

Rebecca Friedman, Assistant Sports Editor

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Dressed in their all-black Under Amour uniforms on Monday, the Wildcats meant business.

After a tough loss to Indiana earlier in the season, Northwestern showed that they were very capable of besting the Hoosiers with a dominant 53-39 victory at home.

The Cats displayed one of their best defensive performances of the season, holding the Hoosiers to only 15 points at the half and 39 on the game. A huge reason for NU’s defensive success was their ability to shut down Indiana’s Aulani Sinclair, who put up 31 points against the Cats in their previous meeting, but was held to only 2 on Monday.

“Tonight we’ve been preaching all year to be aware of who the two best players on the other team are,” coach Joe McKeown said. “Tonight was the first time that we really embraced it. Our defensive effort, awareness and focus were good tonight.”

McKeown talked about the team’s impressive guarding of Sinclair and Jasmine McGhee, who was only held to 8 points. The entire Indiana team was held to only 21 percent shooting on the floor. 

“Our defense really stepped up, Aulani Sinclair is a great player and we held her to only two points, she completely went off last game,” senior forward Dannielle Diamant said. “That was a big one. To take her out really helped us.” 

Diamant was the leading scorer for the Cats, finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds. Freshman forward Maggie Lyon chipped in 13 points and senior forward Kendall Hackney added 11 more for the Cats. 

Lyon was key for the Cats on offense and has developed to be an integral part of their roster.

“She missed the whole month of December,” McKeown said. “But she went back into practice full speed. She showed a lot of patience tonight and didn’t have to force a whole lot.”

One of the main focuses for the Cats on offense has been ball movement. That really seemed to be clicking for them, especially in the second half.

“We were more patient coming into the second half, “ Diamant said. “We were able to get better reversals and get the ball inside and out. This has been a big focus for us and we did a good job of that.”

Lyon echoed Diamant’s sentiment and praised her for going hard to the basket and opening up the outside.

The first half was low scoring on both sides, and both teams seemed to have miscommunication problems on offense. However, thanks to 9 first half points from Hackney, the Cats went into halftime with a 26-15 lead.

NU came out strong and went on an 8-2 run to start the half giving them a 17-point lead. The Cats’ defensive pressure continued to shut down the Hoosiers, who had only one basket in the half until the 8 minute 19 second mark. The Cats’ offense kept rolling and they continued to extend their lead, up by 26 at one point. 

Freshman point guard Nof Kedem scored her first field goals as a member of  the Wildcats, finishing with 5 points, including a 3-pointer. 

The team effort served as a great confidence booster for the Cats.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries and people are just starting to come together,” McKeown said. “Tonight will give us momentum and confidence going into Thursday.”

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