By Matt McHugh
The Northwestern women’s basketball team started the game strong and cruised to a 103-44 victory over the Seton Hill Griffins Sunday. The Wildcats opened on a 10-0 run in less than two minutes, and that set the tone for the rest of the game.
The starting unit was led by senior Maggie Lyon, who had 12 points in the first quarter and 18 in the game. Nia Coffey took over in the third quarter and she finished with 29 points.
“Coffey is really evolving as a leader,” head coach Joe McKeown said. “She was named a captain and she’s one of the best players in the Big Ten and in the country.”
“Our opponent definitely didn’t change our approach to the game,” Lyon said. “We all played really hard. Sometimes our execution wasn’t great, but overall we moved the ball well.”
On the defensive end, junior Ashley Deary had 10 steals while only being called for one foul. The starting point guard also had six points and seven assists in just 16 minutes.
“[Getting steals] is all about being patient,” Deary said. “I try to just let them make their move and then go for it.”
The blowout win also allowed for plenty of playing time for the Wildcats’ bench. All three freshmen, Jordan Hankins, Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and Amber Jamison, played at least 14 minutes each. Kunaiyi-Akpanah proved to be a presence in the paint, grabbing six rebounds and adding two blocks. Hankins was the primary ball handler off the bench, and also scored 10 points on 5-8 shooting. Jamison was a perfect 3-3 in her first game action of her collegiate career.
“The freshmen found Welsh-Ryan arena, so that’s good,” McKeown said. “They’re gonna go through some roller coasters this year. Hankins is an explosive player, she’s between Deary and [Christen] Inman. We’re going to need all three of [the freshmen] this season.”
Seton Hill struggled from the field all game, shooting just 22 percent. Junior guard Alexandria Deep led the Griffins in scoring with 13 points on 4-10 shooting.
The Wildcats held a significant advantage in the paint, outscoring the Griffins 74-6 in that category. However they were just 3-16 from behind the three-point line. “We’re a streaky three-point team,” McKeown said. “We’re capable of making 10 or 12 threes in a game. We have to get more consistent there. I’m not as concerned as the stats showed today.”
The Wildcats have their first regular season game of the season on Nov. 15 when they host Howard at 6 p.m.