‘Cats face Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Fresh off their two weekend wins over No. 16 Florida and Evansville, Northwestern Women’s Basketball welcomes the Virginia Cavaliers to town as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Northwestern and Virginia have faced off just twice before, with their last meeting coming in 2004 as part of the Roger L. White Invitational, in which the ‘Cats fell, 76-55.

The Wildcats come into Thursday’s matchup at 5-1 and undefeated at home. Northwestern upset No. 16 Florida and knocked off Evansville over the past weekend and Nia Coffey was named the Big Ten Player of the Week after averaging 28 points in the two games.

Last season in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Wildcats visited Chapel Hill where they bested North Carolina, 85-72. Maggie Lyon led the ‘Cats with a career-high 31 points, while Coffey added 22.

This season, Coffey leads the Wildcats averaging a double-double with 22.5 PPG and 12.0 RPG. Christen Inman and Ashley Deary are also averaging double-figures. Inman’s status figures to be a key to the matchup as she hasn’t played in the Wildcats’ last two games.

On the other side, the Cavaliers are led by junior forward Lauren Moses, who’s averaging 14.0 PPG and shooting over 50 percent from the floor. Moses is joined by junior guard Aliyah Huland El in the starting lineup, and the guard is averaging 12.3 PPG and shooting just under 50 percent.

Northwestern will be the third Big Ten team the Cavaliers have faced in the last three weeks. Virginia defeated Rutgers, 62-54, on November 20 and topped Nebraska, 73-51, just six days later.

The Cavaliers received a vote in the USA Today Coaches’ poll this week, and are certainly a team that could give the Wildcats some trouble. Seven of Virginia’s 12 players tower over 6’2”, including 6’9” freshman center Felicia Aiyeoten, which could give Northwestern some trouble on the glass.

Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle will also be going for her 300th career win when she takes on the Wildcats on Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan.

You can catch all the action between the Wildcats and Cavaliers on 89.3 FM Evanston Chicago or online at wnursports.com. Ari Ross and Will Greer will have the call for WNUR Sports, live from Welsh-Ryan Arena starting at 7:45 CST.

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