The curse of Penn State continues, as the Nittnay Lions topped the Wildcats 74-58. Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown is now 0-21 in his career against Penn State, and the ‘Cats fall to 17-6 on the season (6-4 Big Ten). The loss drops the ‘Cats to 13-2 at Welsh-Ryan Arena this season.
A back-and-forth first half finished with the ‘Cats down by just one, but things started to spiral out of control in the third quarter. Penn State outscored them 21-10, and held on in the fourth to pick up their fifth win of Big Ten play.
“We took quick shots, which resulted in them doing what they like to do which is transition offense,” Ashley Deary said.
“We just had some mishaps, some breakdowns on the defense,” McKeown said. “Penn State took advantage of it. We got a little ahead of ourselves and they made us pay.”
Nia Coffey was back to her usual self on Sunday. After a recent cold stretch, Coffey found her rhythm early. She had a double-double halfway through the second quarter, and finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds. Although she went just 7-21 from the field, she got to the line 18 times, converting 14 of those chances. In her last four games, she was averaging 11.3 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game on 27 percent shooting.
The ‘Cats were without Christen Inman for the third time in their last five games. She injured herself towards the end of the Wisconsin game on Wednesday, and did not dress for Sunday’s game.
Ashley Deary did her usual business, especially on the defensive end. She had six steals along with 12 points and five assists. She also went 2-2 from three-point range, just the third time that she has made two or more threes all season.
The ‘Cats were able to contain Penn State’s leading scorer Teniya Page in the first half, holding her to just three points on 0-6 shooting. But in the second half, she was back to her usual self, with 15 points on 5-8 shooting. She had been averaging 19.1 points per game on 44 percent shooting entering Sunday’s game.
“Our goal was to not let her beat us,” Deary said. “Amber did a great job on Page too in the first half and really shut her down.”
The ‘Cats have six days off before heading to Indiana as they look to sweep that season series.