Women’s Basketball: Wildcats go ice cold from long range in loss to Michigan State


Courtney Morrison/The Daily Northwestern

Maggie Lyon cuts off a ball handler. The senior guard shot just 1-for-6 from 3, one of many Cats to struggle with her shot as the team shot 3-for-26 from distance against the Spartans.

Will Ragatz, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

Northwestern coach Joe McKeown has referred to the Wildcats on multiple occasions as “a streaky shooting team.” On Sunday, they were on the negative end of that description.

In a 23-point loss to Michigan State, a lot of things went very wrong for NU and nothing was worse than its 3-point shooting. The Cats hit just 3-of-26 attempts from behind the arc, with the second two occurring after the end result was no longer in question.

After NU missed its first four from downtown, junior guard Ashley Deary connected on a triple to pull the Cats within 5 points late in the first quarter. Then, an incredible drought began as NU missed 17 consecutive 3s over the next 26:23 of gameplay.

When senior guard Maggie Lyon finally connected on the Cats’ second 3 of the game, cutting the Michigan State lead from 31 points to 28, there were just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter, with the game having been effectively over for quite some time.

During the 26-minute stretch without an NU 3-pointer, one that spanned the entire second and third quarters, the Spartans ran away with the contest. They weren’t lights-out from deep, making just seven 3s on 27 percent shooting for the game, however, they were the better team in almost every other facet.

Michigan State won on the boards, out-rebounding NU 50-40. Star junior forward Aerial Powers paced the Spartans with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Michigan State was simply the more physical, athletic team, as it made layup after layup against the Cats’ defense. To have a chance in this one, NU was forced to rely on outside shooting.

The Wildcats came into the game shooting 33 percent from long range. Its top four scorers, Deary, Lyon, junior forward Nia Coffey and junior guard Christen Inman, had all been shooting better than 32 percent on 3s. Combined, they hit 2-of-18 on Sunday. Additionally, sophomore guard Lydia Rohde missed all five of her attempts.

Even after watching his team miss 23 3s, McKeown maintained that NU is a good shooting team.

“We have great shooters,” McKeown said. “Maggie Lyon, Christen Inman, Lydia Rohde, Nia Coffey, Ashley Deary…they’re all capable of making all those shots.”

NU’s lack of depth and size has become more of a problem than expected. The Cats have had to play a small lineup for the majority of games, and Big Ten opponents are figuring out how to stop it: Shut down NU inside and force its shots to come from the perimeter.

With its next two games coming up against No. 5 Ohio State and No. 8 Maryland, life won’t get any easier for NU. The Cats will have to shoot far better than 11 percent from 3 to have any chance at knocking off either of those heavyweights.

Their coach is confident that they can do it.

“We’ll get back and make sure that they were the shots we wanted, and we’ll knock them down against Ohio State,” McKeown said.

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Twitter: @WillRagatz