Women’s Basketball: Wildcats best Kent State for McKeown’s 600th career victory

Max Schuman, Reporter


Northwestern (3-0) used a balanced scoring attack and another strong defensive effort to knock off Kent State (0-3), 72-54, and give coach Joe McKeown the 600th win of his career on Friday night.

Five players scored in double figures for the Cats, led by 16 from junior guard Maggie Lyon and 15 by sophomore guard Christen Inman. Sophomore and preseason first-team All-Big Ten forward Nia Coffey notched a second straight double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

NU’s defense was stifling again, allowing the Golden Flashes to shoot just 35.7 percent from the field and 2 of 11 from three. The Cats forced Kent State into 21 turnovers and did so without fouling often, allowing only seven free throws to their opponents on the night.

The Cats paired that defensive efficiency with a hot shooting start to get to the half ahead 38-25. NU connected on six of 10 three-point field goals in the half, including a pair each from Lyon and sophomore guard Ashley Deary, and Inman scored 9 points in the first half on her way to her highest scoring output of the young season.

NU’s lead grew to 25 points late in the second half as the Cats’ seven-deep rotation wore down the Golden Flashes. Kent State made just one three-pointer on seven attempts in the second half and ultimately couldn’t keep up with NU’s tempo.

The Cats struggled again with turnovers in the game, giving the ball away 16 times. Kent State also controlled the boards, winning the rebounding battle 46 to 36 and snaring an impressive 23 offensive rebounds. This contributed to a major edge in shot attempts for the Golden Flashes, who took 70 shots to just 51 by NU.

The Cats compensated by denying easy shots at the rim, with a season-high eight blocked shots including three by senior center Alex Cohen and two by Coffey, and by getting easy points at the foul line, where they took 32 free throws led by junior forward Lauren Douglas’ 10 attempts.

With the win Friday, McKeown reached another milestone in a long and storied career. He came to the program in 2008 after stints at George Washington University and New Mexico State and has amassed 91 victories with the Cats in his tenure. His 600th victory came against his alma mater; McKeown both played for and began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Kent State.

McKeown will look for win 601 on Wednesday as the Cats play host to crosstown rival and fellow unbeaten UIC, who are coming off a win Saturday against Miami (Ohio).

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