Women’s Basketball: Northwestern cruises to 40-point victory over Howard


Sam Schumacher/The Daily Northwestern

Nia Coffey dribbles the ball up the court during Sunday's game against Howard. The Wildcats won 89-49 and Coffey scored a game-high 27 points.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

Northwestern opened the season with a dominant 89-49 victory over Howard on Sunday.

The No. 19 Wildcats (1-0) controlled the game from the opening tip, carving up Howard’s (0-2) defense while holding the Bison to 29 percent shooting from the field.

NU was led by junior forward Nia Coffey, who finished with 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting along with 7 rebounds in 23 minutes. Coffey also scored her 1,000th career point in the first quarter.

“I can’t say that was my goal,” Coffey said. “I just like to go out there and play hard.”

The Cats opened the game with a blistering 19-6 start, highlighted by a 13-2 run in which Coffey and junior guard Ashley Deary combined for all 13 points. Deary also spearheaded the NU defense, hounding Bison ball-handlers and helping the Cats to 18 steals on the day.

Although NU had only a 22-13 lead after the first quarter, it outscored Howard 28-9 in the second to take a 50-22 lead into halftime.

Throughout the game, the Cats turned defense into offense for easy fastbreak buckets, scoring 24 fastbreak points and 34 points off turnovers.

“Transition is really when we get going,” coach Joe McKeown said. “That’s really our bread and butter from an offensive standpoint.”

When NU’s defense wasn’t creating turnovers, it was busy forcing tough shots that led to Howard’s nightmare of a shooting night. The Bison made only 20 of their 68 shots, including zero of their 18 three-pointers.

While Coffey led the team in points, she received ample support from Deary, who contributed 16 points and 7 assists, and junior guard Christen Inman, who chipped in 18 points while making 3-of-5 threes.

Together, the group dissected the Bison’s 2-3 zone.

“We just like to be patient, have ball movement, make them move in the zone and just get open shots,” Deary said.

For the first time in the last 37 games, senior guard Maggie Lyon was held without a 3-pointer, missing all four shots from beyond the arc and finishing with only 3 points in 27 minutes.

“Maggie Lyon had a tough night shooting the ball, but that’s the least of my worries,” McKeown said. “She’s a great player and a great competitor.”

Freshman guard Jordan Hankins shined off the bench in the second half, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting while backing up Deary. Hankins also contributed on the defensive end, picking up four steals in 17 minutes.

Along with Hankins, Amber Jamison notched 6 points and sophomore Maya Jonas anchored the defense off the bench with a block and two steals for the Cats in the second half.

Howard was led by senior center Victoria Gonzales, who scored 21 of the Bison’s 49 points.

NU’s next game is Thursday at 7 p.m. against Idaho State at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Email: josephwilkinson2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson