Women’s Basketball: Northwestern stifles Chicago State in dominant win


Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Christen Inman was one of three Northwestern players to crack the double digits in points Wednesday night. The freshman guard put up a game-high 18 points in the Wildcats’ 64-33 rout of the Cougars.

Josh Walfish, Reporter

Northwestern pulled away early and never looked back, cruising to a victory over Chicago State on Wednesday night.

After surrendering the opening basket, the Wildcats went on an 18-2 run and then methodically continued to increase their lead to as many as 30 points early in the second half. The lead dipped to 23 in the second stanza, but the Cats made a late run to handily beat the Cougars 64-33 and move to 2-0 on the young season. 

“You’re going to have nights when the ball doesn’t go in,” coach Joe McKeown said. “On nights like that, you have to play defense as hard as you can play and I thought we did a good job at that.”

The freshmen yet again stole the show at Welsh-Ryan Arena with their stellar performances. Guard Christen Inman led the charge for NU, scoring 18 points with an impressive 9-for-15 shooting performance. Forward Nia Coffey recorded her first career double-double scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the victory. Guard Ashley Deary continued to orchestrate the offense efficiently, dishing out six assists with only two turnovers.

Sophomore guard Maggie Lyon had 13 points as well, but no other player even approached double-digits. NU did have success on the glass though, picking up 46 rebounds including 18 offensive boards. The work on the offensive glass led to 21 second-chance points. Coffey said she focused on rebounding after the team struggled in that area against Illinois-Chicago.

“I know I have to work on finding my girl and boxing out,” Coffey said. “I wanted to make sure I boxed my girl out, go for the ball hard and just run into our offense.”

Turnovers were the story of the game, but it was Chicago State’s miscues which fed the NU offense, particularly early. The Cats feasted on 20 Cougar turnovers in the first half to a tune of 17 points and ended the game with 23 points off 35 turnovers from Chicago State. NU committed 20 turnovers itself, mostly from the freshmen, but Chicago State was unable to capitalize on the Cats’ errors.

“We were just trying to stay low and just make sure we stayed in front of our defender,” Inman said. “Coaches are always telling us to make sure we cut them off and not allow them to straight-line drive to the basket so we were trying to keep that in mind and stop them from driving.”

NU’s defense was certainly a factor in many of the turnovers, but it was stifling without creating opportunities going the other way. Chicago State shot less than 23 percent from the field and the 33 points allowed was a low for the McKeown era. More importantly, the Cats played clean defense, only committing 17 fouls after having 23 in their opener against the Flames.

As dominant as the Cats were in the contest, there are still plenty of things for NU to clean up. The entry passes into the post were clumsy at times, including a couple that sailed out of bounds over the intended recipient’s head. The Cats also missed all 13 of their 3-point attempts in the game as well, which brought down their shooting percentage from 45.7 percent to 37.5 percent on the night.

McKeown said some of the issues were due to the youth but most of the poor shooting performances were an anomaly.

“I’m just going to chalk them up because I know what they’re capable of,” McKeown said. “I don’t know what happened tonight, maybe it got cold out and the wind came through Welsh-Ryan and blew some of those shots off the rim. Layups you got to make and free throws you got to make, no excuses.”

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