Women’s Basketball: Douglas shines with Coffey sidelined


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Lauren Douglas goes up for a layup. The senior forward led NU with 18 points in a loss to crosstown rival DePaul.

Benjy Apelbaum, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

Northwestern faced its toughest test of the young season against No. 20 DePaul on Saturday, and it did so without its All-Big Ten forward, Nia Coffey.

Her replacement, senior forward Lauren Douglas, filled in admirably, but ultimately couldn’t do enough to lift the Wildcats (3-1) to a win with their star player sidelined with injury.

Coffey did not play for the second-straight game with an upper-body injury. In her place, Douglas emerged to score a team-leading 18 points in NU’s 89-66 loss to the Blue Demons (3-0).

Douglas got on the board on the first possession of the game when she received a pass from senior guard Christen Inman and knocked in a mid-range jumper. From there, she continued to be an offensive force inside and out with her unique combination of size and athleticism.

“I wouldn’t say that I’ve tried to change anything,” Douglas said. “Nia is a big part of our team, but I know what my team needs from me, and I just came out and did what that is.”

Coming into the season, Douglas was something of a question mark after missing all of last year with injury and receiving a medical redshirt. But through four games, the senior has scored nearly 10 points per game as a key role player, and Coffey’s absence has put Douglas into the spotlight of the starting lineup.

Although Douglas has played well, Coffey led the team in scoring last season with 20.3 points per game, and NU struggled mightily on Saturday to replace her offensive and defensive production. Beyond Douglas, the interior duo of junior Oceana Hamilton and freshman Abi Scheid saw major time inside but scored just 5 points in 37 combined minutes.

The Cats especially felt Coffey’s absence on the glass where they were outrebounded 43-33. Coffey tied for the Big Ten lead in rebounds per game last season, with 9.8, and recorded double-digit boards in her first two games this season. NU also allowed 14 offensive rebounds during the game, giving DePaul numerous chances to score and run away with the game.

“They offensive rebounded and kicked out which is dangerous; they hit shots off of that and that hurt us,” coach Joe McKeown said. “I thought we just didn’t do a very good job of blocking out tonight.”

Coffey is said to be day-to-day, and while Douglas performed well and will continue to be relied on, no combination of role players allow NU to replace its biggest star’s contributions.

“I’m excited we’ll get her back pretty soon,” McKeown said. “We played well tonight for 30 minutes without her … people (have) to step up.”

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