Nia Coffey
Photo Credit: Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports

With their Big Ten Tournament seed decided, Northwestern closed out their regular season in Lincoln against Nebraska, falling 76-67. Our thoughts: 

  • Against Michigan midweek, Northwestern struggled from the free throw line, and those struggles continued today. The ‘Cats started the first quarter just 2-7 from the line, and while they finished 13-20, Northwestern once again left too many points at the free throw line on the afternoon. If they’re to make a run in the Big Ten Tournament, the ‘Cats will need to score from the foul stripe. 
  • Northwestern’s perimeter shooting has fallen off the longer the season has gone on, and Saturday was sadly no different. Northwestern knocked down just 4 of 19 3’s on the afternoon. While asking this team to shoot 40 or 50 percent from behind the arc seems to be too big of an ask at this point, if that number could sit at 30 percent rather than 15, it would greatly benefit the ‘Cats.
  • Christen Inman had struggled in recent games, but was back to her best form on Sunday afternoon. Her shooting, which had dipped to around 35% in recent games, was back around the 50% clip, as she finished with a near-season high 27 points on 10-19 shooting. 
  • When these two teams played in early January, Northwestern did well to silence Nebraska’s star freshman Jessica Shepard. The story was the same on the afternoon, with Shepard struggling to score, finishing with only 13 points, well below her season average. After getting torched by stars all throughout February, seeing Northwestern play better against team’s stars in the last few games has been encouraging, especially with a matchup with Rachel Banham and Minnesota potentially looming on the second day of the Big Ten Tournament. 
  • As can happen with freshmen, Pallas Kunayi-Akpanah has had an inconsistent season. On one hand have been the highs against Ohio State. This afternoon was clearly one of her lows though. The freshman finished with 0 points, grabbed just 6 rebounds, and struggled with foul trouble all afternoon. 
  • On Senior Day, Lincoln was rocking. Credit to the Nebraska faithful for making Pinnacle Bank such a tough place to play. They were energetic and engaged throughout, which is always fun to see. 
  • Looking ahead, Northwestern will open their Big Ten Tournament against Wisconsin on Wednesday. Our women’s basketball podcast will preview the tournament and have updates throughout the week from Indianapolis. Look for the preview to debut Tuesday, and stay tuned for more content as tournament week rolls on. 
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