After one of the tougher stretches they will face all year concluded with an impressive win over Michigan, Northwestern women’s basketball (18-3, 8-2 Big Ten) heads to State College to take on conference bottom-feeders Penn State (7-14, 1-9) on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday.
Maryland may have snapped their five-game winning streak, but after Lindsey Pulliam’s 32-point outburst led them to victory over the Wolverines Thursday night, the ‘Cats appear to be thoroughly back on track. The Nittany Lions, losers of six in a row (the past four coming by double figures), are in slightly worse shape.
Kamaria McDaniel leads the group, averaging 22 points per game in Big Ten play, good for second in the conference behind star Iowa point guard Kathleen Doyle. McDaniel led the way for Penn State with 18 points in Northwestern’s shellacking of the Nittany Lions two weeks ago, but shot just 4-15 and did most of her damage after the game was well out of hand.
The matchup brings together teams with completely disparate defenses and assist-to-turnover ratios. The Wildcats allow just 55 points per game, second in the conference, while the Nittany Lions bring up the rear at a whopping 72. Meanwhile, where Northwestern’s A/TO is 1.5, 0.2 clear at the top of the B1G, PSU’s is 0.5, 0.2 clear at the bottom.
Despite all that, though, Penn State poses a significant threat to NU head coach Joe McKeown and co., if mainly in history alone. Since McKeown’s arrival, the ‘Cats are 2-13 against the Nittany Lions, with both wins coming and the most recent matchups between the teams.
Still, with the current roll Northwestern is on, and the struggles of their counterpart, NU should be able to take care of business. Here’s how you can follow along with them as they attempt to:
Location: Bryce Jordan Center (State College, Pennsylvania)
Tipoff: 11:00 a.m. CT
Radio: WNUR Sports 89.3 FM (online at WNURSports.com)
Online streaming: BTNPlus.com
Prediction: Northwestern 76, Penn State 60 (90 percent chance of a Northwestern win) per warrennolan.com