By: Chris Kwiecinski
In a game that featured a roller coaster first half, Northwestern completely unraveled in the second half with a fatal combination of fouls and turnovers enroute to a 92-63 loss to the DePaul Blue Demons.
The Wildcats (6-5), who took a 37-33 lead into halftime, were unable to solve the Blue Demons’ (7-3) full court press, who overcame a cold start to blow a non-conference opponent on the road.
DePaul forced 23 Northwestern turnovers, which the Wildcats could not recover from.
“We came out on fire, played great.” Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said. “We didn’t do a very good job taking care of the basketball.”
Abi Scheid and Lindsey Pulliam led Northwestern offensively with 14 points apiece, however the two were no match for DePaul’s Chante Stonewall and Mart’e Grays who poured in 19 apiece.
Grays and Stonewall were two of six DePaul players who finished with double figures.
The game was essentially over after DePaul smacked Northwestern with 41-points in the third, as the Blue Demons won their third-straight game over the Wildcats.
To make matters worse for the ‘Cats, starting point guard Jordan Hamilton left the game midway through the third quarter and didn’t put any weight on her right leg as she was being helped off.
Northwestern led Depaul 20-2 in the five minutes of the game, and was essentially rolling the Blue Demons out of historic Beardsley Gymnasium.
“We made them take some shots a little bit out of their rhythm,” McKeown said. “I’m just really disappointed.”
“They were fearlessly attacking our pressure,” Depaul coach Doug Bruno said. “Offensively, we were totally out of sync. That was their defense, they had us confused.”
However, Northwestern got complacent as the Blue Demons, who started 0-7 from 3-point range, came two points within equalizing the game on a 18-2 run.
The second half was an absolute nightmare for the ‘Cats, as DePaul’s pressure, athleticism and accuracy would take over.
“We have total respect for coach McKeown and this program,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. “This is going to be a good basketball team. They’re young.”
Northwestern turned the ball over 14 times in the second half, as Depaul shot 44 percent from the floor for the game and recorded 13 steals.
“I think we’ll be fine,” McKeown said. “We’ll have seen a lot by the time we get to the Big Ten. We’re really young, we’re 6-5, and that could’ve went a lot of different ways. If we clean up certain areas, we’ve got a chance to be good.”