Women’s Basketball: Kim: Northwestern’s offensive woes continue, fall in fourth straight game


Daily file photo by Alyce Brown

Junior forward Paige Mott drives into the paint. Mott led the Cats in scoring with 15 points against Maryland on Thursday.

Lucas Kim, Social Media Editor

Entering Thursday’s match against No. 8 Maryland, Northwestern needed a near-flawless performance to come away with an upset victory.

This seemed possible after the Wildcats held a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter — but a grim second quarter and poor shooting put the game well out of reach. NU (8-16, 1-12 Big Ten) ended up falling to the Terrapins (20-5, 11-3) 54-79 to extend its losing streak to three.

When you hold one of the best teams in the nation to only 5-of-15 shooting in the first quarter, you know you’re doing something right. The Cats were able to do so despite Maryland starting the game on a 7-0 run.

NU didn’t seem fazed at all as the team found itself up 20-16 at the start of the second quarter. But to say it all came crashing down would be an understatement.

The Cats only scored two points in the second quarter, coming from free throws with 27 seconds in the period. The team went an abysmal 0-of-13 shooting in the second quarter and 0-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Though the Terrapins entered the half up only 12, NU’s scoring drought continued. Maryland began the second half on yet another 7-0, extending its lead to 15 by the end of the quarter.

The final quarter looked like more of the same as the Cats turned the ball over in five consecutive offensive possessions, allowing the Terrapins to go on a 12-0 run.

Unlike the second quarter, the Cats were able to generate scoring opportunities — but each time it seemed like momentum had shifted: The Terrapins responded at the other end.

“Our league is loaded right now. Outstanding teams,” coach Joe McKeown said. “The teams that we’ve played that are top of our league, they have the ability to make runs.”

NU ended the game having only made two out of 18 three-point attempts, its lowest in a conference game all season.

Defensively, NU was able to force 15 turnovers –– including nine from Maryland star guard Diamond Miller alone –– but that effort was not enough against a squad that has three wins over top 10 teams this season.

Against Purdue three days later, the Cats looked to gain the upper hand in a winnable matchup. But poor shooting was once again a main theme as NU (8-17, 1-13) fell 61-76 against the Boilermakers (17-7, 8-6) for the second time this season. This loss also added another loss to the Wildcats’ consecutive three.

Like Thursday’s contest, NU was able to keep up with its opponent through the first half. The Cats entered the second half down only six points, out-rebounding Purdue 19-11.

However, a 13-2 run from the Boilermakers in the third quarter put yet another game out of reach for NU.

Junior forward Paige Mott, who had scored 15 points against Maryland and entered Sunday having scored double digits in seven straight games, was held scoreless.

Sophomore guard Hailey Weaver stepped up for NU with a career-high 14 points and three three-pointers. Sophomore forward Caileigh Walsh chipped in with nine points and five rebounds.

“We’re doing a lot of great things,” McKeown said. “We just got to get back in a rhythm offensively. I think defensively the effort’s there.”

Despite holding Purdue to only 30% on three-pointers, the Cats were dominated on the free throw line, allowing the Boilermakers to shoot 30 free throws on the day.

On the other end, the Cats shot 4-of-19 from the three-point range and turned the ball over eight more times than their opponent.

If the team hopes to turn its season around, shotmaking will need to improve. NU has gone 12-of-57, or about 21%, from three-point range over its last three games.

The Cats will have a chance to improve their offensive strategy versus Rutgers on Wednesday.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lucaskim_15

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