WBB takes down Loyola Chicago

By Ally Navarrete

Northwestern women’s basketball (3-0) defeated the Loyola Chicago Ramblers (1-2) 63-47 in a Chicagoland showdown that saw many familiar Wildcat faces on the opposing bench.

Former Northwestern basketball stars Maggie Lyon and Abi Scheid were back on the Welsh-Ryan court Wednesday night. Lyon is an assistant coach for the Ramblers while Scheid serves as the Director of Basketball Operations. Both had historic Wildcat careers. Lyon ranks seventh all-time for Northwestern in points scored; meanwhile, in her senior season, Scheid shot a monstrous 47.7% from the arc and helped lead the ‘Cats to a Big Ten championship.

Northwestern got off to a blazing start, shooting 73% from the field to go up 25-10 after just the first quarter. First-year Caileigh Walsh led the way with eight points from two threes and a jumper in the paint. Veronica Burton took the offensive playmaking into her own hands with seven assists in the first quarter alone.

In the second quarter, however, the NU offense crumbled. The team went 2-for-11 from the field, only managing to put six more points on the board before the end of the half. Luckily for the ‘Cats, the Blizzard contained the Ramblers; the NU defense frazzled Loyola enough to cause several missteps and turnovers for the team. At the half, Northwestern was up 31-19.

The ‘Cats found more offensive rhythm in the second half, but they never could match the firepower of the first quarter (something that was often characteristic of this team last season– see 2021 NCAA Tournament round two). Nevertheless, first-years Jillian Brown and Melannie Daley put some points on the board in this half, as they’re confidently finding their footing as new Northwestern players.

Ultimately, Burton led the way in scoring for Northwestern with 16 points on the day. Courtney Shaw also hit double digits finishing with 12 points. Loyola’s Janae Gonzales scored 12 points for the Ramblers, coming from four threes on eleven three-point attempts.

Northwestern came out on top 63-47, notching its third win in a row to start 2021-22 undefeated and move the NU-Loyola all-time series to 25-0 in favor of the ‘Cats.

The Wildcats will face another Chicago team Sunday when they hit the road for a quick trip down to DePaul (2-1). This will be NU’s most challenging game of the season so far, as DePaul is a strong team that received a few votes in the AP preseason poll.

Margaret Fleming and Eli Berk will have the call for Chicagoland on WNUR 89.3 FM and Mixlr. Coverage will begin before tip-off at 5 p.m. CT.