Women’s Basketball: Northwestern returns home in search of rebound performance

Khadrice Rollins, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

The Wildcats return home Saturday following a loss on the road against Iowa on Wednesday. Northwestern (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten) will face the Michigan Wolverines (11-5, 3-2), with both teams in the top half of the Big Ten standings.

The Cats have rebounded with a victory after each loss this season, but this will be the first time they play a team other than Michigan State following a defeat.

“We’ve bounced back really well this year,” coach Joe McKeown said. “To be here, 13-3 in mid-January says a lot for our kids in our program.”

This matchup with the Wolverines looks like one that could allow NU to continue its streak of responding well to losses. The Cats are 7-0 at home this season and Michigan is 0-4 on the road, with all four losses coming by double digits.

NU will need to improve from its previous performance if it wants to keep these streaks churning though. On Wednesday, the Cats shot 34.7 percent from the field, and only 33 percent on 3-pointers.

Luckily for NU, Michigan is last in the Big Ten in defensive field goal percentage and defensive 3-point field goal percentage. Along with that, the Cats are sixth in the conference in scoring and second in scoring defense, while Michigan is in the bottom half of the conference in both. For a team looking for a bounce back, the Cats have several signs in their favor against the Wolverines.

Still, Michigan does pose a threat to the Cats on the glass. Although the Wolverines are only 12th in the conference in total rebounds per game and last in defensive rebounds per game, they still create a problem when it comes to grabbing boards. Michigan is second in the conference in offensive rebounds per game, second in opponent rebounds per game and third in best rebound differential.

NU pulled down 18 offensive boards against Iowa and grabbed the same number of total rebounds as the Hawkeyes on Wednesday. But this was a bit of an anomaly. NU is 11th in the conference in rebounding margin per game and 13th in offensive boards per contest. And with Michigan so stingy in allowing opponent rebounds as well, the Cats could massively regress in this category Saturday if they’re not careful.

But sometimes, you have to peer deeper than the measurable parts of the game, especially when trying to respond to a loss.

Junior Maggie Lyon said she is looking for the overall team intensity to pick back up going into the next game. She pointed to intensity as one of the team’s keys to success this season, and said it was lacking in the loss at Iowa.

“I honestly think it is just intangible things,” Lyon said. “We need to play harder, we need to practice harder. We need to key in on the game and on the scouting report.”

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