Women’s Basketball: Young Wildcats commence Big Ten schedule

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Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Lauren Douglas is only a sophomore, but that makes her a veteran next to the cast of freshmen she plays beside. The forward averages 11.2 points per game off the bench for 10-4 Northwestern.

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

Northwestern begins its Big Ten season against two of the toughest teams in the country — No. 18 Nebraska and No. 21 Purdue.

After a nail-biting 66-65 loss to the Cornhuskers, the Wildcats’ road gets no easier as they look to take the intensity they displayed in Lincoln, Neb., into their matchup against the Boilermakers. NU is coming off an unexpected break after the team’s contest slated for Monday against in-state rival Illinois was canceled due to severe weather.

The extra practice time allows NU to prepare for a Purdue team coming off a weeklong break since opening their Big Ten season with a loss to Ohio State.

The Cats can take numerous positives out of their matchup against the Cornhuskers and into the rest of the season. NU’s young guns led the team in its near upset. Freshman guard Christen Inman led the team with 19 points. Inman’s classmate, forward Nia Coffey, tallied 16 points and sophomore forward Lauren Douglas added 13 off the bench to round out the top three NU scorers.

The success of the young members of the roster has been key for the Cats early in the season and adds depth to a roster that has been light in the past.

Three freshmen — Coffey, Inman and Ashley Deary — remain consistent starters for the Cats.

The Cats’ inexperienced but potential-laden lineup will battle a Purdue team that started two juniors, two seniors and a sophomore in its last contest. Purdue’s experience on the court undoubtedly has them favored in the matchup, but as they demonstrated against Nebraska, the Cats’ young guns can hang with the best.

With an inexperienced team, confidence is a key factor in notching the results NU wants to see throughout the rest of conference play. Coach Joe McKeown has instilled a sense of confidence in his young players, rewarding their consistent play with increased playing time thus far this season.

And the newcomers have fully taken advantage of the opportunity.

Coffey leads the team in points, averaging 15.6 per game, and Inman has the second-most points per game for the Cats.

After a promising pre-conference season and an impressive battle against a Big Ten favorite in what was expected to be a rebuilding year, NU heads into its matchup against Purdue, as well as the rest of its Big Ten contests, with confidence.

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