Women’s Basketball: Kim: The Wildcats need to consider tweaking their lineups to improve offensively


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

Graduate student forward Courtney Shaw goes up for a rebound. Shaw is averaging about 12 fewer minutes per game compared to last season.

Lucas Kim, Social Media Editor

Almost a year ago, Northwestern entered Carver-Hawkeye Arena and defeated No. 22 Iowa in a 77-69 upset led by Veronica Burton’s 25 points, eight steals, six assists and six rebounds.

But while Burton went off to the WNBA, the Hawkeyes returned their three best players — reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Caitlin Clark, Monika Czinano and McKenna Warnock — making this season’s matchup uneven, to say the least.  

Considering this, the result from Wednesday’s match between NU (6-10, 0-6 Big Ten) and No. 12 Iowa (13-4, 5-1 Big Ten) was no surprise. Though the Cats were able to stay with their opponent through the first quarter, the Hawkeyes took off with the lead shortly after, coming home with the 93-64 win.

Given Iowa’s firepower — led by Clark, who is averaging 27 points per game for the third year in a row — NU was simply unable to hold it down on the defensive side of the floor. While the Cats held Clark to “just” 20 points, her 14 assists allowed others like Czinano and freshman forward Hannah Stuelke to score 18 and 17 points, respectively.

What remains more concerning is NU’s offense. The Cats entered Wednesday as the second-lowest scoring offense in the Big Ten and the worst three point shooting team at 26%.

No player has averaged above 13 points per game, and shooting percentages are low across the board.

Coach Joe McKeown attempted to boost production by switching his starting lineup early in the season, mainly by inserting junior forward Paige Mott and junior guard Jasmine McWilliams. This has come at the cost of benching graduate student forward Courtney Shaw and sophomore guard Jillian Brown, who both started the majority of last season.

But considering the team’s lackluster offense thus far, this experiment hasn’t worked. Having lost five games in a row — all conference losses — it’s clear that NU has no offensive identity and is due for some lineup changes.

Perhaps the only bright spot has been sophomore forward Caileigh Walsh, who is averaging 12.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, both of which lead the team. Against Iowa, Walsh put up a game-high 22 points and was the only Cat to score double digits.

With Walsh’s ability to play down low in the post and spread the floor with her three point shooting, McKeown should look to run the offense through the stellar sophomore. With several guards who can both shoot and distribute the ball — including graduate student Sydney Wood, senior Kaylah Rainey and freshman Caroline Lau — NU could benefit from more spacing, which would help open more space up down low as well.

McKeown’s teams have never started 0-6 in conference play in his 15 years at the University. It’s time to start making more changes to recapture some of his previous teams’ success.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lucaskim_15

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