Women’s Basketball: No. 3 Maryland rolls past Northwestern

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Women’s Basketball: No. 3 Maryland rolls past Northwestern

Nia Coffey drives through the paint. The senior made conference history but couldn't lift NU over Maryland on Saturday.

Nia Coffey drives through the paint. The senior made conference history but couldn't lift NU over Maryland on Saturday.

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Nia Coffey drives through the paint. The senior made conference history but couldn't lift NU over Maryland on Saturday.

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Nia Coffey drives through the paint. The senior made conference history but couldn't lift NU over Maryland on Saturday.

Cole Paxton, Assistant Sports Editor

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Women’s Basketball


The opening two minutes of Saturday’s game at Maryland didn’t go well for Northwestern.

The Wildcats turned the ball over on each of their first three possessions, and the Terrapins answered with a bucket each time. Before ever attempting a field goal, NU trailed 6-0.

Unfortunately for the Cats, the remaining 38 minutes didn’t go much better. Senior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 18 points, leading five Maryland players in double figures as the No. 3 Terrapins (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten) routed NU (13-4, 2-2) 96-65 Saturday in College Park.

“I think we’re a much better team than we showed,” coach Joe McKeown said. “We just didn’t do a good job defensively of staying in front of them and that was the difference.”

Senior forward Nia Coffey followed a slow start with a dominant second half, scoring 17 of her game-high 22 points after the break before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. She did, however, eclipse 2,000 points with a free throw in the second quarter, becoming just the fifth Big Ten player to accumulate 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

Senior guard Christen Inman added 17 for the Cats, but no other NU player scored more than 7 points.

NU was outclassed nearly across the board. The Terrapins won the rebounding battle handily, forced more turnovers and crushed the Cats in second-chance points. NU never led, and the game’s lone tie came in the opening 22 seconds.

“We’re going to have to figure out a way, if we play them again, to attack them offensively,” McKeown said. “They got us to play east-west instead of north-south, especially in the first half.”

In some ways, the result was expected. Maryland is a trendy Final Four pick and came close to knocking off No. 1 Connecticut a week ago. The Terrapins entered Saturday 5-0 against NU since they joined the Big Ten in 2014.

Maryland’s offense, which averages more than 90 points per game and is the third best in the country, fired on all cylinders against the Cats. The hosts shot better than 48 percent from the floor and were an effective 10-of-24 from 3-point range.

“They shot the ball really well in the first half and … on offensive rebounds,” McKeown said. “They just have so many weapons.”

Still, the lopsided result was a bit disconcerting for NU. Coach Joe McKeown and players spoke this week of their excitement for the looming matchup.

But on Saturday, the Cats offered little resistance to Maryland’s well-oiled machine. Instead of giving the Terrapins a tough test, NU was thoroughly thrashed.

The contest closed a grueling two-game stretch in which the Cats faced No. 11 Ohio State and the Terrapins. NU’s schedule eases next week, beginning with a trip to Minnesota on Wednesday.

That has McKeown thinking positively.

“It’s early in the Big Ten,” he said. “I feel like we get back and focus on Minnesota and just really focus more on us. I really like our team and that’ll show.”

This story was updated at 4:57 p.m. with quotes.

Email: colepaxton2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ckpaxton

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