With a crowd filled with excited field trippers, the Northwestern Wildcats demolished the UIC Flames behind 19 points from Nia Coffey and an appearance from every player on the active roster. The Wildcats also shut down UIC on defense en route to a resounding 88-44 victory.
Northwestern came out of the gates slowly as UIC was able to hang with the home team for the first five minutes of the first quarter. UIC even took a 9-7 lead at one point, which was quickly erased by a Nia Coffey three-pointer. But Northwestern went on a 17-2 run to close out the quarter, with Inman and Coffey contributing four points apiece.
From that point on, the game quickly drifted out of reach for UIC. Midway through the second quarter, Northwestern had built a 35-17 lead behind a barrage of threes. Northwestern shot uncharacteristically well from beyond the arc, going 7 for 17 for the game. With Northwestern’s offense working from inside and the perimeter, the Wildcats were essentially unstoppable for UIC. The Flames entered halftime down 44-21.
Head coach Joe McKeown was able to rest his starters for the second half as Coffey, Deary, Inman and Rohde all played fewer than 25 minutes. Deary and Inman made good use of their time on the court, however, as Deary picked up 9 assists and Inman scored 16 points.
Northwestern’s bench got extended playing time in the second half. Freshman Byrdy Galernik and sophomore Jordan Hankins both played over 15 minutes and received some much-needed experience. Meanwhile, UIC continued to surrender boatloads of points, as the Northwestern lead reached 36 points at the end of the third quarter and 44 by the end of the game.
Northwestern now heads to the west coast for two road games. The first game will be at 3 p.m. on December 17 in Santa Clara. The Wildcats will then head to Spokane for a matchup against Gonzaga on December 19. Northwestern will then play UT-Martin at home to conclude non-conference play.