Nov. 12, 2004
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Although Friday night's exhibition game will not count in the record books, the Wildcats gave their fans a glimpse of what might be on the horizon. With a 102-80 win over BK Poprad of the Slovak Republic, Head Coach Beth Combs is eagerly anticipating the official start of the season.
"This win definitely gives us some confidence heading into next Friday's game at Creighton," said Combs. "We have put up a lot of points in two exhibition games. Different players have scored and different opportunities to score have been presented."
The Wildcats have not posted 100 or more points since 1997. The source of 31 of those points came from a welcome source-senior Suzanne Morrison, who returned to the court after taking a medical redshirt her junior season. Morrison's regular season record is 19 points. She hit her first eight shots and recorded a double-double in the game (31-10).
Freshman Sara Stutz had a great start to her Northwestern career, scoring 20 points with four boards and four assists. Four 'Cats scored in double figures, with Ifeoma Okonkwo (18) and rookie Melissa Miller (10) rounding out that group.
NU led 52-37 at the half. The 52 points met or eclipsed 14 Wildcat game totals from the 2003-04 season. The half total also topped any output from NU or its opponents last year. Morrison led the team in the opening stanza with 21 points.
The Wildcats shot .537 overall and held BK Poprad under 48 percent. The teams were evenly matched with steals and turnovers. BK Poprad held the 17-16 edge in steals; NU committed 22 turnovers to their opponents' 23.
"100 points is always impressive," said Combs. "It was great to see the girls play the way they did. We pushed the ball in transition and got inside effectively. I am happy with the transition game as well. Defensively, we have a lot to work on and we will continue to concentrate on that."
The true test will present itself in next week's opener at Creighton, the 2004 WNIT champs.
"We have a lot of work to do before Friday," said Combs. "Creighton will be ready for us and it is not easy to start a season on the road. But we have gained some confidence and will be working hard in practice this week."