Nov. 11, 2011
Site: Mt. Pleasant, Mich. (McGuirk, Arena)
Score: Northwestern 69, Central Michigan 60,
Records: Northwestern (1-0), Central Michigan (0-1)
Next Game: Tuesday, Nov. 15 vs. Western Kentucky, 7 p.m., Welsh-Ryan Arena
MT. PLEASANT, Mich. -- Northwestern gained momentum in the last three minutes of the first half, and maintained that intensity the rest of the game, emerging with a 69-60 victory at Central Michigan to open the 2011-12 season. Four Wildcats reached double figures, led by junior Kendall Hackney who scored 18 points, 11 of which came in the second half.
"First, on behalf of the women's basketball program, I'd like to acknowledge all of the veterans on this Veteran's Day," head coach Joe McKeown said. "We are so grateful for their service to our country. As far as the game goes, I thought it was a hard-fought battle by both teams and certainly a game of runs. I was really proud of our team because we hung in there. Give credit to Central Michigan, they stopped us from breaking out at the beginning of the second half. For a first game of the year, on the road, in a really loud environment, I thought we did okay. I'd like to congratulate Central Michigan on their successful food drive. We were proud to be part of that and what they were trying to accomplish."
Northwestern's freshmen turned in two outstanding efforts, as Karly Roser flirted with a double-double, turning in 10 points, nine assists and five steals. Fellow classmate Morgan Jones recorded 12 points, seven rebounds and two snatches.
Jones accounted for nearly half of NU's first 20 points, draining a pair of triples in the first 10 minutes. While the half-court offense stalled, the Wildcats picked it up on the defensive end, inducing four CMU turnovers in their last six possessions of the half. Northwestern capitalized on the miscues, and scored the last eight points of the stanza to take a 36-36 lead into the locker room.
Senior Brittany Orban led all scorers with 10 first half points and five rebounds, while Jones and Roser added eight each. Roser recorded seven assists and four steals. Orban ended the game with 16 points.
Northwestern scored two quick baskets in the first 30 seconds of the second half to extend its lead to 14, but the Chippewas scored 13 of the game's next 15 points to make it a one-possession game, 42-39, just five minutes into the frame.
Led by Hackney's offensive production, Wildcats regained their footing as well as the lead, pulling ahead 55-48 with eight minutes left on the clock. Northwestern kept it coming, composing an 8-2 run, highlighted by a three-pointer from Hackney and a wild lay-in by Tailor Jones, giving NU a 63-50 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the contest. The Wildcats held Central Michigan at bay, draining the clock and coming away with their first win of the season.
Complete, and perhaps more accurate stats will follow in the near future. This includes the box score.
Northwestern is next in action at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, when it welcomes Western Kentucky to Welsh-Ryan Arena.
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