The Wildcats didn’t have Nia Coffey on Wednesday night, but in the end, it didn’t matter. Northwestern (3-0) demolished the Missouri State Bears (1-2) 75-52.
Northwestern’s star player was ruled out of the game with an “upper body injury” before the game. Without Coffey, Christen Inman bore the brunt of the scoring load and finished with 18 points. Lauren Douglas, Lydia Rohde and Ashley Deary all scored 10 points, as Northwestern displayed a balanced attack without its best player.
“We knew with Nia being out we were gonna have to step up,” said Christen Inman.
Northwestern was shaky in the opening few minutes without Coffey on the floor. Missouri State kept the game within one possession and Northwestern failed to pull away until Lydia Rohde heated up. The junior scored 8 straight points and hit two threes to put Northwestern up by 7. Rohde’s shooting propelled Northwestern to a 9-2 run, and the Wildcats never looked back.
After two games of subpar shooting, Northwestern finally started making shots on a consistent basis. The team shot 51.9 percent from the field in the first half, paced by stellar performances from Christen Inman and Rohde.
Lauren Douglas contributed in relief of Nia Coffey, playing significant minutes and looking mostly recovered from her injury last season.
“Lauren Douglas was on a path, before she got hurt, to be one of the top-ten all-time leading scorers here. She’s got great experience, really smart, can play three or four positions,” head coach Joe McKeown said.
Douglas’ jumper with 2:38 remaining in the half put Northwestern up 40-23. A late Missouri State run cut Northwestern’s halftime lead to 42-28, but Northwestern was still fully in control.
The game didn’t get any better for Missouri State, as the Bears continued to struggle with the Wildcats’ stifling defense. The defense has been a positive through the first few games of non-conference play, and Northwestern limited Missouri State to just 27.4 percent shooting from the field. The team also had 8 blocks and 10 steals. Ashley Deary, true to form, had 6 steals herself. She also chipped in 10 points and 8 assists.
The second half never got close as head coach Joe McKeown started rotating his bench players on the floor. Northwestern entered the fourth quarter up 60-40 and was able to rest its starters in the last few minutes. Allie Tuttle, Byrdy Galernik and Jordan Hankins got some significant run at the end.
After the game, Coach McKeown wasn’t able to give too many updates on Nia Coffey’s condition, but he didn’t seem overly concerned. We should have more updates tomorrow.
Northwestern will face No. 20 DePaul this Saturday at 7 p.m.