Nov. 10, 2006
Evanston, Ill.-- Northwestern jumped out to a 22-7 lead and never looked back, downing Valparaiso 64-45 in the season-opener Friday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Senior captain A.J. Glasauer (Freiberg, Germany/Theodor-Heuss Gymnasium) led the 'Cats (1-0, 0-0) with 17 points and seven assists, both game-highs.
"We needed to win at home to set the tone for our season," head coach Beth Combs said. "We knew we needed to come out and start aggressive in the first half."
And start aggressively they did. The 'Cats hit the first basket of the game and slowly built the lead while stifling the Crusader offense. After scoring once in the first five minutes, Valparaiso did not find the basket again until the 7:39 mark of the first half. In the meantime, the 'Cats had gone on a 17-2 run.
Northwestern held Valpo to just 13 points in the opening stanza, to hold a 28-13 advantage at the half. Glasauer led all scorers at the half with seven points.
The Crusaders mounted a small comeback in the second half, drawing as close as 10 points, but the 'Cats' offense kept attacking. Northwestern shot an impressive 41.3 percent from the field compared to Valpo's 29.5 percent. NU also stepped it up on the glass, out-rebounding the Crusaders, 41-31.
Junior Sara Stutz (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) joined Glasauer in double-figures with 12 points. Junior point guard Nadia Bibbs (Chicago, Ill./Hillcrest) turned in a scrappy performance with a game-high eight rebounds while also contributing nine points and dishing out five assists.
Freshman Kaitlin McInerney (Oak Brook, Ill./Benet Academy) turned in a solid performance in her collegiate debut, recording nine points on 4-for-4 from the field and grabbing six boards. She also added three blocks on the evening.
It was the third time in the last four seasons--and the second-consecutive time--that Northwestern had opened with a victory at home.
The 'Cats are next in action at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12 as they travel a few miles south to tangle with Loyola.