Buzzkill. Epic fail. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
Our high-flying Wildcats were riding a five-game winning streak, looking to make a statement against Kansas State, their toughest opponent since losing to then-No. 20 DePaul. Instead, they laid an egg, getting completely outclassed, 64-45. This game was pretty much lost in the first eight minutes of the game, a stretch in which NU made just one basket and fell behind 15-3. That set the tone, and it seemed pretty clear that NU didn't come ready to play, offensively or defensively. I lost track of how many times the KSU radio announcers said "wide open" when referring to a KSU player, and NU seemed to get outhustled on rebounds and loose balls. Kendall Hackney even got a technical foul for sassing the refs.
KSU ended the first half with a 39-14 lead. NU would make a mini run early in the second half to close to within 14, but KSU came right back and cruised the rest of the way. NU shot 26.4% for the game, while KSU shot 41%. NU had just 14 turnovers, which is actually a respectable number for them, but KSU converted those into 16 points, and KSU also earned 15 second-chance points. Like I said, outhustled offensively and defensively.
Brittany Chambers was a one-woman wrecking crew for KSU, scoring 29 points and going 8-14 from behind the arc. For NU, Morgan Jones led the way with 20 points, but it was not pretty, as she shot 6-19. Hackney had 14 points and 7 boards.
NU now drops to 9-2 on the season, with two nonconference games left. The Wildcats will have to flush the game quickly, as they'll conclude the BTI Invitational on Tuesday with a game against North Dakota State. It should be an easy win, assuming NU comes out with focus and still has fresh legs. Even in tonight's blowout, coach Joe McKeown kept Jones in for 38 minutes, Hackney for 39 minutes and Dannielle Diamant for 33 minutes.
But there's still plenty of season left, and for what it's worth, RealtimeRPI.com had this projected as a loss anyway, albeit not a blowout. Assuming the Wildcats take care of business against North Dakota State and Toledo, they'll have a very respectable nonconference resume to build on in Big Ten play. So, this loss, while discouraging, isn't reason to get down on our Wildcats. As our two losses show, they're not a perfect team, but they're still plenty good.