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

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

The Daily Northwestern


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Women’s Basketball: Northwestern falls to Penn State, extends losing streak to three

Junior+guard+Melannie+Daley+looks+to+evade+defensive+pressure+against+Penn+State+Thursday.+Daley+poured+in+10+first-half+points+in+the+loss.
Aria Wozniak/Daily Senior Staffer
Junior guard Melannie Daley looks to evade defensive pressure against Penn State Thursday. Daley poured in 10 first-half points in the loss.

Northwestern looked to avoid a third straight defeat Thursday night as Penn State entered Welsh-Ryan Arena hungry to sweep the season series. 

Although the Wildcats (7-11, 2-5 Big Ten) made it difficult, the Nittany Lions (13-5, 4-3 Big Ten) ultimately prevailed 76-65 in the matchup.

After a devastating 40-point blowout loss in Happy Valley against Penn State on Jan. 2, NU went into Thursday night’s game looking to wipe its slate clean and garner a positive result.

“We were shocked when we went out against Penn State last time, and we did not want that to happen again,” graduate student guard Maggie Pina said. “We were encouraging all of our (trainers) and each other to get up to deny, to foul us, to make everything as difficult as it could be this week.”

Pina provided a boost for the ‘Cats in the first quarter’s opening minutes with a quick 3-pointer, NU’s first points of the game. She then recorded a quick assist to junior forward Caileigh Walsh and a steal. 

However, after nabbing four makes from 3-point range, Penn State began to pull away from the ‘Cats on a 15-2 run.

Turnovers were evenly distributed in the first quarter, reflecting the teams’ season trends. The Nittany Lions and NU are sparsely separated in the NCAA’s turnovers per game charts, with the ‘Cats ranking 252nd in the nation and Penn State just 19 spots ahead.

NU headed into the second quarter down 10 points, a deficit that remained tough to crack throughout the period.

Although Junior guard Melannie Daley’s three fouls kept her on the bench for a large portion of the second quarter, she was also the main upside for the ‘Cats and poured in six second-quarter points.

Daley headed into the intermission with 10 points on a perfect, 5-of-5 shooting clip.

Shortly before the half, NU upped the intensity, forcing turnovers, attacking the basket and hitting shots from the field to cut into Penn State’s lead. 

The ‘Cats held Penn State scoreless in the last five minutes and 26 seconds of the quarter, ending the first half with a six-point deficit.

Coming out of the break, NU was a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor, aggressively defending every possession on the defensive end and attacking the basket to fully erase the Nittany Lion lead.

And, with less than six minutes left in the third quarter, the ‘Cats took a three-point lead courtesy of Pina’s 3-pointer. This marked the team’s first second-half advantage in 15 days.

After gaining the lead halfway through the third quarter, NU went toe-to-toe with Penn State, trading scores and solidifying a close-run race to the finish line.

The game remained close throughout the forth with each team trading buckets until just a little bit over three minutes left to play, when Nittany Lion guard Makenna Marisa tallied a pivotal 3-pointer to seemingly solidify the game. 

In the last three minutes of game action, the Nittany Lions pulled away on a nine to two run, allowing them to come out victorious in Evanston.

Walsh and Sophomore guard Caroline Lau were exceptional forces for the ‘Cats, combining for 27 points. Walsh finished the game with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Lau finished the night with 10 points and a 2-of-3 conversion rate from beyond the arc.

With the ‘Cats coming up short despite a valiant push, coach Joe McKeown’s squad recorded its 12th loss of the season.

NU’s heartbreaking 76-65 point loss will have to be pushed to the back burner as the ‘Cats gear up for a tough road matchup against No. 14 Indiana on Sunday. 

“Their aspirations are to get to the final four and they play with that type of confidence,” McKeown said of the Hoosiers. “We are excited for the challenge.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @Gabriella_Egozi

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