Women’s Basketball: Penn State exposes Cats’ rebounding problem


Daily file photo by Luke Vogelzang

Nia Coffey takes a jump shot. The junior forward fouled out late in Thursday’s game, exacerbating Northwestern’s rebounding problems against Penn State.

Dan Waldman, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

The Wildcats went into 2016 with a bitter feeling, losing their first conference game to Penn State on Thursday.

No. 14 Northwestern (11-2, 0-1 Big Ten) battled the Nittany Lions (6-6, 1-0) on the boards for the duration of the game. But despite junior forward Nia Coffey recording her conference-leading eighth double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, Penn State edged out NU in the rebounding category.

“For a team like us — last year that finished 12-6 in the Big Ten — we’re a better team than that, and that’s really the frustrating part,” coach Joe McKeown said.

The Nittany Lions went into halftime with a 37-31 lead over the Cats — and a rebound advantage of 34-23 — in part to center Candice Agee’s nine first-half rebounds. Agee, along with forwards Peyton Whitted and Kaliyah Mitchell combined for 37 rebounds in the game — only six fewer than NU’s total.

Penn State’s rebounding numbers can also be attributed to the Cats’ poor shooting performance. The team shot a meager 33.3 percent from the field, compared to Penn State’s 40 percent — providing the Nittany Lions with abundant rebounding opportunities.

“They really outplayed us today.” McKeown said. “It was a game of runs and we just broke down defensively at the wrong time.”

NU finished with 43 rebounds — 19 fewer than Penn State. The Nittany Lions exposed one of the Cats’ weaknesses, and the result was a team that could not compete with Penn State’s height and had to resort to fouling.

“Our problem was stopping Penn State, and keeping them off the foul line,” McKeown said. “We just didn’t do a very good job defensively.”

NU will look to rebound in its next game on Sunday against Nebraska, who was outrebounded 51-29 in its last game.

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