At the beginning of the season, Northwestern coach Joe McKeown thought his team might have difficulty with perimeter shooting. But after Northwestern (13-2, 2-0) cashed in 8 three-pointers in a 76-60 win over Purdue (9-6, 0-1), maybe he shouldn’t have been so concerned.
Northwestern had four players in double-digits, with senior Lauren Douglas scoring a career-high 18 points on just 10 shots and Nia Coffey leading the team with 19. Douglas was certainly the MVP of this game, however, picking up 4 steals, 3 blocks and 7 boards to go along with her scoring. Her midrange game and outside shooting really helped Northwestern make things happen on offense without Lydia Rohde, who missed the game with an injury.
Northwestern actually started the game down 8-0, possibly a bit cold after a 15-minute delay due to a clock malfunction. Coffey struggled mightily from the field in the first half and did not record a point for a full 19 minutes of gameplay. But Northwestern muscled past Purdue anyway, knocking down 5 threes and building a 13-point lead over Purdue. The Boilermaker offense, on the other hand, struggled in the second quarter and were unable to fight back in the second half.
Northwestern’s offensive pressure mounted in the third quarter as Coffey rediscovered her offensive efficiency and Douglas continued to knock down shots. Northwestern would cruise to a 16-point win by the fourth quarter as the starters received some rest.
Northwestern will run the gauntlet in its next two Big Ten contests. First, the Wildcats will face off against No. 14 Ohio State in Evanston on January 3, a rematch of the Wildcats’ stunning upset over the Buckeyes last season. Then, the Wildcats will travel to College Park and play No. 4 Maryland on January 7.