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Women’s Basketball: Defensive effort carries day for Wildcats

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Women’s Basketball: Defensive effort carries day for Wildcats

Ashley Deary sprints up court for a layup. The junior guard paced the Cats’ defense effort as usual as she collected seven steals in the 36-point win.

Ashley Deary sprints up court for a layup. The junior guard paced the Cats’ defense effort as usual as she collected seven steals in the 36-point win.

Sam Schumacher/The Daily Northwestern

Ashley Deary sprints up court for a layup. The junior guard paced the Cats’ defense effort as usual as she collected seven steals in the 36-point win.

Sam Schumacher/The Daily Northwestern

Sam Schumacher/The Daily Northwestern

Ashley Deary sprints up court for a layup. The junior guard paced the Cats’ defense effort as usual as she collected seven steals in the 36-point win.

Benjy Apelbaum, Reporter

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Women’s Basketball


Northwestern’s defensive tenacity disrupted Idaho State’s offensive rhythm Thursday and the Wildcats were able to take advantage of turnovers to create chances on the offensive end.

Paced by the quick hands of junior guards Ashley Deary and Christen Inman, who forced seven and two steals, respectively, NU (2-0) forced 23 turnovers as team against an overmatched Idaho State (1-1) to help give the Cats a 72-36 win, its second of the season. It was the fewest points NU has allowed since Dec. 7, 2014.

NU attacked from the start, with Deary forcing two steals in the opening minutes. On the second one, she stripped an Idaho State player of the ball and quickly spun around and wove a long pass through two Bengals defenders to an open Inman for an easy layup.

The play contributed 2 of the 23 fast break points for the Cats was a part of a 15-0 NU run during the first quarter that put the team ahead 18-3. The Bengals were never able to recover from this deficit to make the game close.

Senior guard Maggie Lyon discussed the importance of the swarming early-game defense.

“I think just getting out early, pressuring on defense … fuels our defensive effort,” Lyon said.

Inman was assigned to guard the Bengal’s leading scorer, Apiphany Woods, who averaged 15.5 points per game this past year. Inman held Woods, last year’s Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year, to just 8 points.

“I think Ashley and Inman did a great job on their guards today, Inman shutting down their best player,” Lyon said.

Offensively, the game was not pretty for the Cats, who shot just 38.4 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from three.

Forcing turnovers helped provide offensive fuel for NU, who scored 23 points off turnovers. The significance of turnovers was most obvious in the second quarter, when the Cats only forced 4 turnovers and had their worst offensive quarter of the game with only 14 points.

But while the offense struggled at times, coach Joe McKeown praised NU’s consistent defensive effort.

“I thought we did a really good job defensively; I liked our effort,” McKeown. “That’s what we’re preaching between now and when we start the Big Ten — just get better on defense every day.”

Email: benjaminapelbaum2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @benjyapelbaum

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