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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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Rapid Recap: Loyola-Chicago 73, Northwestern 68

Daily file photo by Anna Watson
Freshman guard Casey Harter drives inside the paint to score a bucket. Harter poured in a season-high 14 points for the Wildcats in their loss Wednesday against Loyola-Chicago.

Coming off of two blowout defeats at the Ball Dawgs Classic, Northwestern returned to Welsh-Ryan Arena Wednesday for a matinee homestand against Chicagoland foe Loyola-Chicago. 

Despite their effort, the Wildcats (3-4, 0-0 Big Ten) could not put away the feisty Ramblers (3-4, 0-0 A-10), losing 73-68. NU’s upperclassmen leadership in senior forward Paige Mott and junior forward Caileigh Walsh struggled against a ball-hungry Loyola team — which out-rebounded the hosts 11-5 on the offensive glass. But, junior guard Hailey Weaver responded with 20 points to lead NU’s offense.

The Ramblers stepped onto the court energetic at tip-off, taking the lead with ease over the ‘Cats. Walsh put back an easy pull-up jumper on the fast break to get NU on the board, but Loyola assistant coach and ‘Cats basketball alum, Abi Scheid, had a counter for every bucket.

While the first half was tumultuous for NU, late plays in the third quarter by freshman guard Casey Harter put the squad back into the game. After a 12-point performance last week, Harter set a new season-high Wednesday with 14 points off the bench.

Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s game.

1. NU’s offensive efficiency needs improvement before conference play

Shooting 9-of-20 in the first half, the ‘Cats’ offensive direction was a roller coaster the entire contest. The group made careless mistakes inside the paint, coughing up 10 turnovers in the opening two quarters.

Loyola’s offense ran circles around NU’s defense, something the ‘Cats couldn’t replicate on the opposite end of the floor. Regardless of big plays by Walsh and sophomore guard Caroline Lau, their drives were not enough to bite into the growing Rambler lead.

As NU’s conference season rapidly approaches, coach Joe McKeown must figure out who will be the offensive leader of this squad. 

2. Athleticism played a major factor in Wednesday’s matchup

The ‘Cats struggled to rev up the intensity on the court, playing timid and stagnant early. While the team had its short bursts of energy, NU was  sporadic and too inconsistent to create an effective strategy for the entire regulation.

Conversely, the Ramblers played each minute of the game in motion. They opened up lanes for each other and sped up their ball movement to keep McKeown’s patented  Blizzard defense one step behind. Loyola guard Sam Galanopoulos led the charge with 20 points against the ‘Cats.

3. Harter brings a spark to NU’s offense 

The Pennsylvania native lit a fire under a sleeping ‘Cats offense late into the third quarter to cut into Loyola’s lead. Only a first-year, Harter has made a name for herself early in her collegiate career, setting a season-high 12 points last week against Belmont. 

Getting minutes off the bench, Harter’s energy on the floor electrified NU’s passive first half offense.. Creating big plays alongside Lau and Weaver, Harter’s 14 points, three assists and three rebounds lifted the ‘Cats and helped trim the double-digit deficit to one point midway through the fourth quarter.

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