Women’s Basketball: Wildcats halt the Pride after halftime, remain unscathed

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Women’s Basketball: Wildcats halt the Pride after halftime, remain unscathed

 Nia Coffey raced ahead of all her teammates in Northwestern’s victory over Hofstra on Wednesday. The freshman forward scored a game-high 27 points.

Nia Coffey raced ahead of all her teammates in Northwestern’s victory over Hofstra on Wednesday. The freshman forward scored a game-high 27 points.

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Nia Coffey raced ahead of all her teammates in Northwestern’s victory over Hofstra on Wednesday. The freshman forward scored a game-high 27 points.

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Nia Coffey raced ahead of all her teammates in Northwestern’s victory over Hofstra on Wednesday. The freshman forward scored a game-high 27 points.

Alex Lederman, Reporter

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Hofstra’s pride wasn’t quite strong enough to take down Northwestern. Stellar nights from Nia Coffey, Maggie Lyon and Lauren Douglas led the Wildcats to another nonconference victory  Wednesday night.

Freshman forward Coffey put up 27 points on the night, shattering her previous career high of 19. In addition, she added six rebounds and two blocks to her total.

“We’re starting to learn how to play with her and get her the ball in better spots,” coach Joe McKeown said.

Coffey, though, was not NU’s only standout Wednesday night, as sophomore guard Lyon also hit a career high. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year had 13 rebounds, topping her previous record of seven. Lyon also scored 11 points, earning her first career double-double.

“It’s a long time coming,” Lyon said. “I could have gotten (a double-double) before, but I just focused more on rebounding tonight.”

Lyon said she had something to prove tonight. Earlier this week, she had a conversation with McKeown in which he said she rebounded better last year. She wanted to show her coach what she was made of, and her hard work did not go unnoticed.

“I think (Maggie)’s making an effort to be more physical,” McKeown said. “She’s strong and has a natural rebounding knack.”

Sophomore forward Douglas flew under the radar in a night of career highs. Embracing her new role as the squad’s sixth-man, Douglas put up 14 points and had seven rebounds. Her contributions off the bench have been key to the Cats’ undefeated start.

“(Douglas) gives a spark. She gives us some energy,” McKeown said. “I think she likes that role right now.”

Although NU advanced to 4-0 with the 74-57 victory, the night was far from ideal.

It was a game of streaks Wednesday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Pride came out ready to play, opening on a 9-2 run, but the Cats weren’t about to call it quits. NU stole Hofstra’s heat, going on a 14-5 streak of its own to take a 16-12 lead seven minutes in.

Coffey led the charge, putting up 12 of those first 16 points. While the rest of the team went 1-for-9 from the field in these early minutes, Coffey was 4-for-4 with two 3-pointers and a perfect percentage from the free throw line.

NU would continue to control play, leading by as much as 8 points in the first half, but Hofstra would not fade away quite yet. The Cats lead quickly disappeared, as the Pride, down by 8, scored consecutively to tie it up at 23, and would go on to take a 4-point lead with more than two-and-a-half minutes remaining before the break.

The Cats closed out the first stanza with a slim 36-34 lead. But the contest turned on its head after NU came out of the locker room. The Cats came into the second half firing on all cylinders. NU quickly took control of the game, opening with a 13-0 run to lead 49-36 with 13 minutes left.

The Cats’ defense stomped onto the court, as the Pride did not score a field goal for 10 minutes and 20 seconds from late in the first half to almost halfway through the second. After Hofstra shot 40 percent from the field in the first half, NU held the Pride to just 23.1 percent. Meanwhile the Cats pumped up from 34.3 to 52.2 percent between the halves.

“I thought we did a pretty good job defensively for the most part,” McKeown said. “That was our focus in practice and I think we carried that over.”

Hofstra would not come within 10 points for the rest of the game.

“We were executing our plays very well,” Coffey said. “Everyone was hitting their shots. Our teammates were just passing the ball, sharing the ball really well, so we just really executed tonight.”

McKeown, however, is well aware that this is just the beginning.

“It’s gonna take us a while to get consistent,” he said. “We’ve got some work to do, but it’s good to be 4-0. I think our players are just evolving.”

Email: alexanderlederman2017@u.northwestern.edu

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