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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Women’s Basketball: Turnovers, defensive struggles overshadowed by Walsh career-high double-double

Daily file photo by Elena Lu
Junior forward Caileigh Walsh shoots the ball. Walsh poured in a career-high 27 points and 14 rebounds in Northwestern’s eight-point win over Southeast Missouri State.

Four days after scoring three points in a 58-point thumping at the hands of Notre Dame, junior forward Caileigh Walsh made a huge swing, scoring 27 points as Northwestern secured a 76-68 victory over Southeast Missouri State.

“I just really took that personal,” Walsh said. “(I) thought about it and came back stronger and I think that everything worked tonight.”

The New Jersey native was efficient from the floor, shooting 9-of-15 from the field. Twelve of her points came from downtown, including a dagger at the 1:26 mark of the fourth quarter, nabbing her career-high total and giving the Wildcats (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten) a 10-point lead. 

Walsh’s offensive rhythm opened things up for the rest of the team as well, as junior guard Melannie Daley joined Walsh in double-digit scoring, propelled by an 11-point third quarter to finish with 17. Junior guard Hailey Weaver chipped in 10 points as well.

“It’s nice when that post is hitting 3s,” assistant coach Maggie Lyon said. “It really helps space the floor.”

NU also made a marked improvement from Wednesday on the glass, with Walsh leading the way with 14 rebounds. The Fighting Irish skied over the ’Cats on the boards 49-29 last Wednesday, scoring 30 second-chance points.

On Sunday, NU was able to outdo the Redhawks in rebounds (1-3, 0-0 OVC) 47-29, using its size advantage to its benefit to plug in 14 second-chance points of its own.

“We need to continue to improve on (rebounding), and I felt like that was something that we took a lot of pride in,” Lyon said.

However, a win, let alone led by Walsh, was in question after the second frame, when the ’Cats were outscored 24-9 and entered the halftime break down 40-34. Second quarters have been a point of concern for NU so far, outscored in the second period in three out of four games. 

SEMO especially punished the ‘Cats from the perimeter, going 6-of-11 from 3-point range in the second quarter alone. Daley said the game plan in the second half was largely focused on preventing another hailstorm.

Daley said the coaching staff emphasized that the team should “run (SEMO) off the line” to keep the Redhawks from punishing the hosts from deep.

NU also had a hard time taking care of the ball, with 14 turnovers in the first 30 minutes. The Redhawks benefitted with 17 points off those turnovers. 

Lyon said the ’Cats need to maintain composure even if the opponent gets going offensively as the first half winds down during contests.

“When we are faced with adversity, we have to keep our poise and be patient,” Lyon said.

As the ‘Cats look to their next matchup with No. 12 Florida State (2-0, 0-0 ACC) in the Ball Dawgs Classic tournament in Las Vegas next week, Lyon said the team has learned from the Notre Dame loss — and the nerves NU might have felt going into South Bend. 

As the team’s first conference game against Maryland stands less than a month away, Lyon said these games against tough opponents will be big opportunities to make mistakes and prepare for the Big Ten slate. 

“We look forward to playing the Florida States of the world, the Stanfords, the Notre Dames,” Lyon said. “I think being tested early, it’s a really positive thing.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @raj_ghanekar1

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