Women’s Basketball: Hot-shooting Northwestern rolls past Purdue


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Lauren Douglas shoots over a defender. The senior started on Saturday and matched her season high in scoring.

Garrett Jochnau, Sports Editor

Women’s Basketball

On Saturday, the Wildcats were without sharpshooter Lydia Rohde, their best scorer from deep. Northwestern hardly felt her absence.

Putting together their best collective impression of the junior guard, the Cats rode a hot shooting effort from deep to a 76-60 win over Purdue at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

After watching the Boilermakers (9-6, 0-1 Big Ten) dance out to an 8-0 start, senior forward Lauren Douglas — who replaced Rohde in the starting lineup — connected from long range, giving NU (13-2, 2-0) its first points and setting the stage for the lopsided shooting effort that allowed the Cats to coast to their second Big Ten victory.

“I would say I’m a pretty good shooter,” said Douglas, who had her best statistical output since returning from an injury that sidelined her all of last year. “It just takes getting back into game rhythm. … So as the games go on, I think I’ve gotten a little better.”

On the day, NU connected on 8-of-17 3-pointers, with four makes coming in the crucial first quarter run as the Cats recovered from a slow start to take full control. Douglas, who tied a season high with 18 points, combined with senior guards Christen Inman and Ashley Deary to go 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. Senior forward Nia Coffey pitched in 19 points after failing to score until late in the first half, as the starting lineup guided NU to an easy win.

The Cats’ offensive play was far sharper than in Wednesday’s conference opener at Nebraska, in which NU failed to score for more than six minutes in the fourth quarter and snuck out a win despite scoring just 62 points. The 76 points the Cats piled up represented the second most Purdue has allowed in a game this season.

“We have a lot of different players who can step up at any given moment,” Inman said. “I think that makes us that much harder to guard, because when one of us is having a slower night, there’s other people who can pick up the slack.”

Purdue didn’t do itself any favors. With NU in a 3-point shooting rhythm, the Boilermakers found themselves in a rut. The visitors went just 2-of-12 from deep, adding 20 turnovers as they struggled to match the offensive energy with which they opened the game.

Many of the 20 giveaways were unforced, but NU did its part with a respectable defensive effort, especially in the second quarter when it outscored Purdue 19-7 to establish a firm lead.

“Defensively we just did a great job,” coach Joe McKeown said. “I think that really opened the game up for us.”

The Cats’ hot start to conference play will be tested as NU begins the new year at home against No. 14 Ohio State, followed by a road trip to No. 4 Maryland. But sitting atop the conference standings and with their stars in a groove, the Cats appear prepared for the two games.

“We’re excited to play,” McKeown said. “Both of them are great teams. … They’ve raised the bar in the Big Ten so it’ll be a lot of fun to get ready for both of them.”

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Twitter: @GarrettJochnau