By Kevin Sweeney
After a hot start to the season, Northwestern women’s basketball hits the road today to take on Florida in Gainesville. The 3-0 Wildcats are taking on a Florida team off to their worst start in 20 years, with losses to Gardner-Webb, Florida State, and Mercer to open the year. Parker Johnson and Kevin Sweeney have the call on WNUR Sports, with tip-off at 1 p.m. central time.
Here are three things to know before tip-off.
1. Road Warriors?
After going just 3-9 on the road last season, Northwestern opened the season with an impressive road win over a Green Bay team that has since beaten #16 Missouri. After today’s game, Northwestern won’t leave the Chicagoland area until December 19, when they play a neutral-site tournament in Las Vegas.
2. Gators love the 3
2nd-year head coach Cam Newbauer’s team motto is “Chuck it from the cheap seats”, with Gators playing a fast-paced style emphasizing the three pointer. While Newbauer is still trying to bring in players to fit his system, the Gators have a pair of star guards in senior Funda Nakkasoglu and Delicia Washington capable of lighting it up. Nakkasoglu is averaging over 22 points while shooting 58 percent from deep on the young season, and Washington is coming off a 33-point outburst against Mercer. Stopping that duo will be key if Northwestern wants to make it four straight wins to open the year.
Northwestern’s strong play to open the year gives them a chance to be ranked in the top 25. The ‘Cats received the 28th-most votes in the season’s first AP Poll, and since that poll, the teams ranked Nos. 14, 16, 19, and 20 have all lost. With another win today, Northwestern has an excellent chance to be ranked for the first time since January of 2016.