Women’s Basketball: Northwestern unable to double down on Purdue

Sophomore+guard+Maggie+Lyon+drives+a+play+against+Illinois.+Though+she+was+called+for+four+fouls+at+Purdue+on+Thursday%2C+Lyon+was+not+benched+and+played+almost+a+full+game+to+tally+10+points+for+NU.

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Sophomore guard Maggie Lyon drives a play against Illinois. Though she was called for four fouls at Purdue on Thursday, Lyon was not benched and played almost a full game to tally 10 points for NU.

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

Hoping to achieve a season sweep of a top team on its home court, Northwestern (12-7, 2-4 Big Ten) fell short in the second half, losing to No. 22 Purdue (14-5, 4-3) 90-65.

“We fought pretty hard,” coach Joe McKeown said. “The game kind of got away from us in the last eight minutes.”

After a close 71-68 upset win by the Wildcats over the Boilermakers earlier this month, a blowout in West Lafayette was unexpected.

“At Northwestern we made a big run in the second half, we couldn’t make that tonight,” McKeown said. “We were able to score, make transitions, get stops on defense. We really frustrated Purdue. I think tonight that it was flipped. They really frustrated us. We couldn’t get out and we didn’t get good looks at the basket.”

Throughout the first half, the Cats were playing repeated catch-up, cutting the lead and then letting the Boilermakers extend it again. But the game was nowhere out of NU’s reach at the end of the first half: Purdue led only 45-34.

Foul trouble at the beginning of the second half didn’t help the Cats’ cause. Freshman guard Christen Inman and sophomore guard Maggie Lyon were called for four fouls each and sophomore forward Lauren Douglas was called for three. However, McKeown didn’t pull any of his top players.

While Purdue held onto its lead, NU kept battling back, stringing together a 9-2 run to cut the lead to only 9. But the Boilermaker’s persistence paid off and Cats were in trouble once again.

“We kept cutting the lead and then they would just make a three or hurt us in the paint,” McKeown said. “Tonight’s game was lost by us in the paint.”

Junior forward Liza Clemons was the story for the Boilermakers, putting up 23 points and 10 rebounds.

McKeown said the Cats had problems defending and rebounding in the lane against Purdue, which made the win that much easier for such a talented team.

“They capitalized on things that they should have the first time,” Douglas said. “They capitalized on us not rebounding.”

Although McKeown acknowledged the Cats were unable to contain Clemons on defense, he said he was proud of NU’s defense on senior Purdue guards Courtney Moses and KK Houser, one of the team goals heading into the matchup.

For the Cats, freshman trio forward Nia Coffey, guard Ashley Deary and Inman put up 20, 7 and 10 points respectively. Sophomore starters Douglas and Lyon scored 14 and 10 apiece.

At Purdue, the Cats’ young guns continued to drive the team’s success, and McKeown recognizes that win or lose, players are only getting more valuable experience with each passing game.

“There are three freshmen out there that are great players for us and what we do,” he said. “This is just more experience for them.”

Putting the defeat behind them, the Cats have another key Big Ten matchup this weekend. NU looks to avenge its 1-point loss to No. 21 Nebraska at Welsh-Ryan Arena this Sunday.

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