Women’s Basketball: Northwestern faces Iowa’s offensive onslaught as losing streak extends to five


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

Graduate student forward Courtney Shaw watches the ball fall through the hoop. The Maryland native logged 20 minutes against the Hawkeyes on Wednesday.

Jake Epstein, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern entered Iowa City, Iowa looking to shake up the Big Ten landscape and upset No.12 Iowa for an elusive first conference win of the season Wednesday. But the task proved too tall for the Wildcats (6-10, 0-6 Big Ten), as their losing streak extended to five in a 93-64 road loss to the Hawkeyes (13-4, 5-1 Big Ten).

After a slow offensive start in the last contest against No.6 Indiana, sophomore forward Caileigh Walsh opened the scoring early with a shot beyond the arc for three. The Cats extended their lead to 8-3 after graduate student guard Sydney Wood drilled a long-range jumper off an Iowa turnover. 

But the Hawkeyes quickly quelled the quickest NU start of the new year and took their first lead of the contest five minutes into play. Iowa closed out the quarter on a 15-6 run on the back of Hawkeye guard Caitlin Clark’s two late threes, and the Cats trailed 22-16 after 10 minutes.

Junior forward Paige Mott opened the second quarter scoring tally after canning her first two free throws of the contest. NU failed to contain Iowa’s offensive firepower, however, and the Hawkeyes rode a 16-4 run to extend their lead to 16. Following nearly three minutes of scoreless play for the Cats, freshman guard Caroline Lau hit a crucial layup, which kickstarted an 8-2 NU run. Iowa regained momentum toward the end of the quarter and entered halftime with a 47-32 lead.

Walsh entered the second half looking to chip away at the deficit and scored the Cats’ first four points after the break. However, NU could not take the lid of the basket as the quarter progressed, and coach Joe McKeown’s squad added just one field goal to Walsh’s early production. While the Cats converted just 3-of-13 attempts from the field, the Hawkeyes were unphased by the Blizzard defense, knocking down 10-of-15 third quarter field goals en route to a 72-47 margin.

Facing a nearly insurmountable deficit, NU’s inability to affect Iowa shooters continued, as the Hawkeyes finished the contest at a 9-of-13 clip from the field. While the Cats changed up the rotation and subbed in sophomore forward Mercy Ademusayo for her first minutes of the contest, Iowa comfortably closed out a 93-64 victory on its home court.

The Hawkeyes’ top three scorers combined for 55 points, as Clark, Monika Czinano and Hannah Stuelke tallied 20, 18 and 17 points, respectively. On a night where Iowa converted 59% of its shots and 42% from three, NU’s typically sound defense collapsed against its heavily favored opponent.

The Cats return home to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday for a matchup against Purdue. The Boilermakers have dropped their past two games, and both squads look to get back on track with a crucial conference victory.

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Twitter: @jakeepste1n

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