‘Cats Welcome the Purple Aces to Welsh-Ryan Arena

By: Parker Johnson

Coming off an upset victory over No. 16 Florida, Northwestern Women’s Basketball (4-1, 0-0) will play host to the visiting Evansville Purple Aces (0-4, 0-0) at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

On Friday night, Northwestern earned an upset win over the No. 16 Gators by a score of 73-68 to improve to 4-1 on the season. It was Northwestern’s second matchup against a top 25 team, having lost to No. 20 DePaul on Nov. 19.

The ‘Cats are led by senior forward Nia Coffey, a three-time returning all-Big Ten first team selection. After leading Northwestern to victory in its first two games, Coffey was sidelined with an injury, but responded strongly in her first game back against Florida, putting up 26 points and 14 rebounds.

Junior guard Lydia Rohde has been an offensive revelation for Northwestern this season, shooting a blistering 15-for-23 from three-point range in her first five games. Her hot shooting has added a much-needed element to a Wildcats team that shot only 31 percent from three last season.

The Purple Aces will come into Welsh-Ryan Arena at 0-4, but they were only a few possessions away from being 2-2. Evansville’s losses to Cleveland State and Southeast Missouri came by a total of six points. Against Southeast Missouri, the Purple Aces were down 21 points at halftime but made a furious comeback, ultimately falling just two points short. For a team that went 3-28 last season and hasn’t found a win yet this year, Evansville certainly isn’t short on fighting spirit.

Evansville touts two double-digit scorers through its first four games, senior guards Sara Dickey (16.3 points per game) and Camary Williams (13.3). Senior forward Sasha Robinson also averages close to a double-double with 9.3 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Northwestern will look to exploit its height advantage against an Evansville team that has only one player over 6’1”. The ‘Cats, meanwhile, have eight players that exceed 6-feet 1-inch in height. This mismatch will be evident on Sunday, as Evansville already has a -9.3 average rebounding margin in its first four games.

It should be a fun matchup, but the Wildcats will be heavy favorites to come away with a victory on Sunday afternoon.

WNUR’s Jason Dorow and Parker Johnson will have the call for WNUR Sports as the ‘Cats take on the Purple Aces at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tune in at 2:00 pm CST on 89.3 FM Evanston Chicago or online at wnursports.com/listen-now.

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