Women’s Basketball: Northwestern buries No. 21 Nebraska, pushes winning streak to six


Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

The Wildcats completed a massive 59-51 home victory against No. 21 Nebraska. Sophomore forward Nia Coffey contributed her usual fare, notching 17 points and pulling down 14 boards in the victory.

Khadrice Rollins, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

The Wildcats have still not lost in February.

Northwestern (20-6, 10-5 Big Ten) extended its winning streak to six games on Wednesday after defeating No. 21 Nebraska (18-8, 8-7), 59-51.

“We played great in spurts,” coach Joe McKeown said. “And then we allowed Nebraska to make a comeback, and then we did a really good job of finishing the game.”

NU took control of the game early in the first half. Senior guard Karly Roser started the night for the Cats as she scored their first 5 points, including a 3-pointer on the first possession. She also brought down four rebounds in the first half.

“I knew they were going to sag off of me today because in the past I haven’t been the best shooter,” Roser said. “So we knew that was a part of their game plan and since they weren’t really aware of where I was, I knew I could attack the glass and get some of those rebounds.”

The story of the first half was NU’s suffocating defense. With Nebraska’s leading scorer, junior guard Rachel Theroit, sidelined with an injury, Nebraska made just three field goals and was held to an abysmal 10.7 percent shooting in the first half.

Along with preventing the Cornhuskers from putting the ball in the basket, the Cats did not allow Nebraska to keep possession. In the half, NU forced 10 Cornhuskers turnovers and junior guard Maggie Lyon and sophomore guard Ashley Deary each had two steals.

But the star of the opening 20 minutes for the Cats was sophomore forward Nia Coffey. Coffey has been on a tear during NU’s winning streak and continued her dominating play on Wednesday. She was the leading scorer and rebounder for the half with 9 points and eight boards.

Coffey also helped the Cats control the battle in the paint with two first-half blocks. NU outscored Nebraska in the interior 14-2 and this helped the Cats take a 29-12 lead into halftime.

“Our defense was really great,” Coffey said. “And I really think that we just had a sense of pride in our defense just so far, especially in this month. And we had that mentality that they were not going to score.”

In the second half, the dominance continued. NU would push its lead to as high as 24, but did let Nebraska trim the margin down to 8 with just over four minutes remaining thanks to a 19-3 run.

From there the Cats attempted to work the clock, but a barrage of errors kept the door open for the Cornhuskers, and the lead would be cut to 6 with just over two minutes left in the game. Coffey would extend the lead back to 8 with about one minute and 40 seconds left, and after another Nebraska bucket, a 3-pointer from junior forward Lauren Douglas would push NU back up 9.

After missing their first three free throws of the game, the Cats would make six straight to close out the contest.

“I learned a long time ago that when you get past Valentine’s Day, when you win, (you need to) appreciate it,” McKeown said. “And then try to clean up the things you have to do to get better, so that will be our focus.”

Coffey posted her sixth-straight double-double with 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Roser collected nine boards of her own on the night to go along with 10 points, and Douglas and Deary chipped in 15 and 10 points, respectively.

This victory pulled NU into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Big Ten with three games remaining. And one of those contests is against Rutgers, who is only one game ahead of the Cats for the third spot.

“It feels great,” Coffey said. “Because I remember last year in February we did not win a game, so it feels awesome.”

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