Women’s Basketball: Northwestern can’t slow down red-hot Maryland shooters


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Ashley Deary calls a play in the corner. The junior guard leads the nation in steals and had four of them on Sunday, pushing her season total to 81.

Cole Paxton, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

At times on Sunday, Maryland’s basket looked twice as big as Northwestern’s.

The No. 8 Terrapins (16-2, 5-1 Big Ten) shot 45.3 percent from the floor, 52.6 percent on 3-pointers and used a balanced attack in an 80-62 win over the Wildcats (13-5, 2-4) in College Park.

NU’s defensive performance was uncharacteristically poor. The Cats entered Sunday’s game allowing opponents to shoot just 24.9 percent from 3-point range and 37.7 percent overall. Maryland’s 80 points marked only the third time this season NU has allowed that many.

The shooting output was not, however, an anomaly for the Terrapins. Through 17 games, they have shot 49.8 percent from the field, the third best mark in the country. Brene Moseley, who scored 17 points on Sunday on 6-of-11 shooting, has shot at least 50 percent from the field in 13 games this season.

“Maryland played really well,” coach Joe McKeown said. “They executed.”

Kristen Confroy’s performance, contrary to much of Maryland’s effort, was not expected. The sophomore guard, who entered Sunday never having made more than four 3-pointers in a single game, hit her first seven en route to a 8-of-10 performance from beyond the arc and 24 points.

Despite her blazing shooting, she routinely found ways to get open. Early in the fourth quarter, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough found Confroy open on a cross-court pass with five seconds on the shot clock. Confroy sunk the shot.

“There were two things that happened: We left her open — not on purpose — so that’s something we have to address,” McKeown said. “And then she hit some tough shots when we did guard her.”

The Cats’ defensive performance on Sunday in some ways mirrored Thursday’s against No. 5 Ohio State. The Buckeyes scored 82 points and shot better than 47 percent from the floor.

NU, however, shot 45.2 percent against Ohio State, compared to just 36.6 percent against Maryland. The Cats made just 2-of-18 3s on Sunday.

“We had a lot of shots in transition that we normally make that we struggled with tonight,” McKeown said. “Good shots, too.”

NU’s main issue, however, was defense. The Cats will need to shore up their defensive work ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Minnesota, as the Gophers feature Rachel Banham, who is second in the Big Ten in both points per game and 3-pointers made.

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