Women’s Basketball: Wildcats cruise past Missouri State without Nia Coffey


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Christen Inman looks for an entry pass. The senior guard led Northwestern with 18 points to help the team roll over Missouri State on Wednesday.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

Star forward Nia Coffey was out for the game, but Northwestern didn’t miss a beat, cruising to a 75-52 win over Missouri State on Wednesday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Senior guard Christen Inman led the way for the Wildcats (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Fellow senior guard Ashley Deary chipped in as well, notching 10 points and snatching six steals after leading the country in steals per game last year.

“It was weird not seeing Nia across from me, running the floor with me,” Inman said. “The focus was just (to) play together, do what we do best.”

Coffey, the team’s leading scorer last year, missed the game with an upper-body injury, but NU’s role players came through to make up for her absence.

Junior guard Lydia Rohde continued her strong start to the season, making two 3s and scoring 10 points. Up front, senior forward Lauren Douglas, starting in place of Coffey, put in a workmanlike defensive effort, blocking four shots to go with her 10 points.

“Our pregame plans were the same,” Douglas said. “Obviously Nia’s a great player, but I know we’re confident in everybody on the bench. We’re really deep, so everyone’s just worried about playing their role.”

Despite missing their star, the Cats shot a healthy 48.4 percent from the field. Although NU hit just 4-of-13 attempts from behind the arc, the Bears (1-2) were even worse, shooting 4-of-22 from 3.

The Cats’ biggest issues came on the glass. Coffey’s rebounding was sorely missed, as NU allowed Missouri State the grab 20 offensive rebounds after allowing 21 total in their first two games with Coffey.

Other than its defensive rebounding issues, the team turned in a well-rounded performance, holding Missouri State to only 27.4 percent shooting from the field while leading almost the entire game. They also showed their offensive versatility with 14 fast-break points, 22 points off turnovers and 42 points in the paint.

“We got great bench play,” coach Joe McKeown said. “Everybody was alive and sharing the basketball … We just did what we were supposed to do, and that was really exciting for me.”

On the inside, a frontcourt rotation led by Douglas and junior center Oceana Hamilton combined helped the Cats outscore the Bears by 26 points in the paint, a positive sign for a team that lacked consistent interior play around Coffey last season.

After taking care of business against lower-level opponents, NU is set to ramp up the difficulty with a trip to No. 20 Depaul on Saturday. The Blue Demons handed the Cats their first loss of the season last year, and McKeown anticipates another battle in his squad’s first major test of the season.

“They’re a great team,” McKeown said. “For our seniors it’s been a great series. Crazy games, wild games, we see a little bit of everything. It’ll be a fun atmosphere.”

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