Northwestern’s tourney is over, loses 57-55 to Arkansas

By Ben Goren

Northwestern hadn’t been here since what feels like forever, and it showed a little bit. Northwestern’s lead stretched into double digits with under 10 minutes to play, and it felt like the Wildcats were about to run away with it. Then, they didn’t. Northwestern had some bad turnovers, Arkansas started getting good looks from anywhere they wanted, and with a minute to play, the game was tied.

Ashley Deary is a monster

13 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and she put pedal to the metal for the whole 40 minutes, forcing 4 steals. For a lot of the game, Deary was the only player who was a threat for Northwestern on the offensive end. For someone who is really a third, even sometimes fourth, option for this team, for Deary to show out like this on such a big stage is a huge deal. With Karly Roser departing next season and no backup point guard currently on the roster, Deary is going to need to be even better next season. The turnovers are certainly a concern (she had 4 today), but there’s no reason for Wildcat fans to be worried about the starting point guard spot next year.

Rebounding the ball is important

Arkansas had 20 offensive rebounds. They missed 45 shots. That means the Razorbacks grabbed almost 45% of their misses. That makes it hard for Northwestern to win the game. Northwestern is a big team, with Cohen, Coffey, and Lyon all starting. Karly Roser is as tenacious a rebounder you can find at the point guard position. Yet still, Northwestern struggled to find bodies to box out, a problem that a zone only accentuates. Northwestern played great defense. The issue is that when your opponent shoots it 17 more times than you, it doesn’t matter how good your defense or offense is. More opportunities just leads to more buckets. And that’s why Northwestern lost.

This season was still awesome

Losing in such a frustrating and heartbreaking way should not affect the way Northwestern fans, players, or coaches view this season. Making the tournament was still a giant step forward. Making the Dance after 17 years away from it meant that, no matter how this game ended, the season was still a giant A+. Naturally, this won’t make anyone feel any better right now. Northwestern was dominating Arkansas and couldn’t seal the deal. I’m sure a bunch of Wildcats are going to be very unhappy on the flight back from Waco. For a lot of programs, being “just happy to be here” is an inappropriate mentality. For Northwestern women’s basketball, maybe as fans, we should be just happy that they made it. As the program continues to grow, expectations will too. Today was immensely frustrating, but don’t let it overshadow what was still an amazing season.

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