Dec. 18, 2011
Site: Las Vegas, Nev. (Cox Pavilion)
Score: Northwestern 79, UNLV 49
Records: NU (9-1, 0-0 Big Ten), UNLV (8-3, 0-0 Mountain West)
Next NU Event: Dec. 18 -- vs. Kansas State (Las Vegas, Nev./BTI Invitational Tournament), 9:30 p.m. CT
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Junior Kendall Hackney turned in a 22-point effort, her fourth-straight 20-point game, to lead Northwestern to a 79-49 victory over UNLV Sunday evening as part of the BTI Invitational in Las Vegas. Morgan Jones, Dannielle Diamant and Alex Cohen joined Hackney in double figures as the Wildcats improve to 9-1 on the year.
"I really loved our defensive effort," head coach Joe McKeown said. "UNLV is an explosive team and we shut them down when we had to. I think this was our best defensive effort since LSU, and everything fed off of that. I'm proud of how people stepped up tonight. It was a great team win for us.
After UNLV got on the board first, a pull-up and steal by Allison Mocchi sparked eight unanswered points to put Northwestern up 8-2 at the first media timeout. Morgan Jones drained a three-pointer and NU added four more points as it extended its lead to 15-8. Northwestern shot 50 percent from the field through the first 12 minutes of the contest and ultimately finished with a season-high 52.2 field goal percentage.
But the Lady Rebels battled back, thanks to an 8-of-9 effort from the free-throw line, to pull back to within a point, 17-16, at the 8:27 mark of the first half. And then, Hackney exploded. The junior drained NU's next 11 points--three of which came from deep--to put the Wildcats up 28-16 with 5:14 remaining. Morgan Jones and Diamant got in on the action, each adding a three-pointer to help NU's lead swell to 20, 36-16.
Defensively, the Wildcats silenced the Lady Rebels for seven minutes while going on their 16-0 run. UNLV got back on track, scoring six points to NU's two to end the half, but the 'Cats still took a commanding 38-22 lead into the break.
Hackney led NU with 15 points--three of which were triples--while Morgan Jones added 10 points and five assists. As a team, the 'Cats hit 6-of-13 from three-point land.
The Lady Rebels slowly whittled Northwestern's lead down to 10, 48-38, with just under 13 minutes remaining, but another three from Hackney--her fourth--pushed NU's lead back to 13. Meghan McKeown and Morgan Jones added back-to-back threes to extend the Wildcats' lead to 57-38 mid-way through the half.
Northwestern never looked back, posting its largest point margin victory of the year while picking up its ninth win of the season.
The Wildcats return to Cox Pavilion tomorrow evening for a 9:30 CT showdown with the Wildcats of another variety--Kansas State.
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