After defeating Ohio State on Thursday, Northwestern faced a quick turnaround with a trip to College Park, Maryland to face 8th ranked Maryland. Northwestern didn’t play their best game, as they did against Ohio State, but they certainly acquitted themselves well before falling to the Terps 80-62. Here are our thoughts:
- Nia Coffey twisted her ankle against Ohio State on Thursday, and there was definitely some question as to whether she would play today or not. Coffey got the start, and led the team in scoring with 19, but didn’t exactly look 100%. Hopefully Coffey will have some time to get healthy before Northwestern’s trip to Minnesota midweek, and she’ll be closer to 100% against the Gophers.
- Maryland is unquestionably the deepest team in the conference, and the difference in depth between the Terps and ‘Cats is massive. Maryland was able to consistently bring in fresh bodies off the bench, and by the end of the game, Maryland’s depth played a big role in helping them keep Northwestern at bay.
- Our Ben Goren performed an in-depth film study this week suggesting that Northwestern should play its small-ball lineup more. In the second quarter, the Wildcats had perhaps their best spell of the game with that small ball lineup on the court. Ben praised that lineup’s ability to spread out defenses, which is exactly what happened during Northwestern’s run.
- Kristen Confroy would have been a deserved choice for player of the game in this one. Maryland’s sophomore guard made 8 3-pointers, and created open shots for her teammates when Northwestern keyed in on her, leaving other Terps open for mid-range jumpers. At times it seemed like Northwestern just lost Confroy on the defensive end, which just can’t happen. On top of her ability as a sharp-shooter, Confroy also pulled down 10 rebounds, giving her a double-double.
- Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah was the X-factor for Northwestern against Ohio State, finishing with 14 points and 14 boards, but struggled against a Maryland team that can be downright dominant down low. PKA didn’t score, and grabbed just 2 rebounds against Maryland today.
- After shooting lights out from downtown against the Buckeyes on Thursday, Northwestern struggled from 3 against Maryland on the afternoon, finishing just 2-18. Against the top teams in the Big Ten, Northwestern has to hit their 3-balls to not only stay in the game, but also give themselves a chance to win it. 11.1% just won’t get it done.
- Northwestern senior Christen Johnson had started all but three games coming into today, but didn’t see the court today at the Xfinity Center, with Joe McKeown choosing instead to start Akpanah and give Jonas what had been Johnson’s minutes. It’ll be interesting to see what the Wildcats’ rotation down low looks like in the coming games.
- Northwestern’s ability to get the win against Ohio State on Thursday definitely took some of the pressure off this team in terms of NCAA Tournament resume. Though the ‘Cats are just 2-4 in Big Ten play, they have a good opportunity to get back to .500 with winnable games upcoming against Minnesota and Indiana.
- Big fan of the Ashley Deary from 60-feet play the ‘Cats ran to end the 3rd quarter. Northwestern should run that one more often if you ask me.