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Bad defense and turnovers doom the Wildcats, Northwestern falls to Penn State 73-54

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Northwestern drops to 3-12 in the Big Ten

Ian McCafferty

The fans at Welsh-Ryan Arena despondently headed for the exits after watching Northwestern (14-13, 3-12 in Big Ten) fail to muster any resistance against Penn State (9-16, 5-10 in the Big Ten). The Wildcats lost 73-54 in a demoralizing home defeat that saw Northwestern dominated on both ends of the floor for the entire night.

Once again Northwestern fell behind in the first quarter to start the game. Penn State forced Northwestern into 7 turnovers in the first quarter and outscored Northwestern 25-14. Northwestern shot well from the floor but were out-rebounded on the offensive glass 4 to 0. The Wildcats also allowed 5 three pointers in the first quarter, including 4 from Lindsey Spann.

"When teams score on us early...it just seemed to catch us playing on our heels,"  said head coach Joe McKeown

The second quarter got even worse for Northwestern as the Wildcats only managed 6 points. Penn State took advantage of 6 more turnovers as Northwestern was unable to hold onto the ball. Northwestern's shot selection was poor and the squad could not complete simple passes at times. Nia Coffey and Maggie Lyon combined to go just 2 for 10 in the first half as Northwestern's offense ground to a halt. The poor play from the Wildcats allowed Penn State to go on an extended 21-4 run and enter halftime with a 41-20 lead.

In the third quarter, Northwestern started with a small run that cut the lead down to 15 but could not guard Penn State's three-point attack. Unlike the game against Maryland, Northwestern was unable to make the game interesting. Penn State continued to tear through Northwestern's defense, and the Wildcats allowed 73 points. Northwestern stopped its turnover issues, but it was not enough to save the team. Penn State closed the game out in the fourth quarter and defeated Northwestern 73-54.

"Not a lot I can say that would include the word 'defense' in it because we didn't play any," McKeown said. "Penn State got every shot they wanted."

Spann led all scorers with 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting and was 4 of 5 from downtown. Brianna Banks was limited to 7 points after scoring 27 on Northwestern in the teams' first meeting, but Penn State found production enough from Khaliyah Mitchell and Teniya Page to comfortably emerge victorious. Peyton Whitted contributed a double-double as well, with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Overall, Northwestern played terribly all around against a Penn State team that entered the game just 4-10 in Big Ten play.

Notes:

  • Joe McKeown is now 0-20 against Penn State in his career. You read that right folks, Joe McKeown has somehow never defeated Penn State over his 30-year career. Granted, Penn State has had some very good teams, but this incarnation of the team is not one of them.
  • Northwestern averaged 0.71 points per possession in this game as the offense could get nothing going whatsoever.
  • Penn State entered the game shooting 33.7 percent from three in this game, but the team shot 71.4 percent from three against Northwestern.
  • Northwestern's hopes of escaping the bottom four of the Big Ten for seeding purposes at the Big Ten Tournament have all but disappeared with this defeat.
  • Teniya Page lit up Northwestern in the first meeting between these teams, but she only scored 10 points on Wednesday. However, her offensive abilities were not at all necessary for Penn State.
  • Penn Stated scored 34 points in the paint and out-rebounded Northwestern 37-23.