Women’s Basketball: Despite early struggles, Northwestern topples Loyola to stay undefeated


Daily file photo by Sam Schumacher

Nia Coffey drives through three defenders. The junior forward spent a startlingly high 11 minutes on the bench as the Wildcats drew 21 fouls against Loyola on Sunday.

Dan Waldman, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

Despite getting off to a slow start, Northwestern came away with a 81-72 victory against Loyola on Sunday, extending its winning streak to nine games.

Last season, the Wildcats defeated Loyola in a 70-33 blowout, but the Ramblers had different plans this time around.

No. 12 NU (9-0) struggled early shooting against Loyola (2-6), only scoring 12 points in the first quarter. The Cats were 4-of-11 from three and shot 36 percent from the field in the first half, trailing the Ramblers 34-30 going into halftime.

Despite ramping up the offense in the third quarter, NU went into the fourth quarter tied with Loyola at 55.

“We did come out a little slow,” said junior guard Christen Inman. “But one of our team mantras is to just stay positive and persevere.”

The Cats also had difficulty competing with Loyola for rebounds. Loyola outrebounded NU 40-30, and recorded 10 more defensive rebounds than the Cats.

NU’s defense kept the game close as it forced the Ramblers to commit 22 turnovers, 14 of which came in the first half. However, NU had trouble containing Loyola’s forward Taylor Manuel, who scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds.

“Loyola played really well today,” coach Joe McKeown said. “On their homecourt, they really did a great job. We just couldn’t get rid of them, so you have to give them a lot of credit.”

NU junior forward Nia Coffey and junior guard Ashley Deary — who leads the country in steals per game — each played the entire fourth quarter with four fouls.

With two of the Cats’ leading scorers in foul trouble, Inman stepped up to lead the team in scoring with 25 points. Inman helped spark the team’s offense late in the game with 9 points in the fourth quarter.

“I felt really comfortable,” Inman said. “Despite our slow start, I was just trying to stay aggressive, and take my shots where they came. I knew they needed me to step up, especially with people being in foul trouble.”

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