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    Wildcats Open 2007 At Penn State

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Freshman Kaitlin McInerney scored 12 points and dumped in eight rebounds in the Big Ten opener against Wisconsin on Dec. 28.
    Freshman Kaitlin McInerney scored 12 points and dumped in eight rebounds in the Big Ten opener against Wisconsin on Dec. 28.

    Jan. 3, 2007

    Penn State Game Notes
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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- The Wildcats open the new year on the road as they head to University Park, Pa., for a 6 p.m. CT showdown Thursday with the Lady Lions. Northwestern is coming off a bye weekend over the New Year's Day weekend after dropping the Big Ten opener to Wisconsin, 93-72, at Madison on Dec. 28. Following Thursday's game, NU returns home to play host Iowa on Sunday. If there are 3,000 pre-sold tickets to the game, we have dared head coach Beth Combs to dye her hair purple! Get your tickets today by calling 847-491-CATS.

    Last Time Out...
    Northwestern dropped its Big Ten Conference opener Thursday night at Wisconsin, 93-72. The two teams traded baskets the first 12-plus minutes of the game, but the Badgers ended the first half on a 22-5 run to seal the Wildcats' fate. Senior A.J. Glasauer led NU with 15 points, while freshman Kaitlin McInerney grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

    Both teams opened the game on fire, running up a 29-27 score in just over 12 minutes of play. But as Northwestern cooled off, Wisconsin started to heat up, all but sealing the win over the next seven minutes.

    "Wisconsin is heckuva a team," said Northwestern head coach Beth Combs. "They have a ton of weapons."

    With the score 29-27 Wisconsin, NU went 2-for-7 from the field with five turnovers to end the opening stanza. The Badgers on the other hand went 8-for-11 from the floor, including a three-pointer and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Wisconsin turned the ball over just 10 times (in the game) compared to 22 for the Wildcats.

    "We competed for about 26 minutes," said Combs. "Unfortunately it's a 40-minute ballgame.

    "We've been doing some good things. But we're making the same mistakes. We are allowing runs to get out of hand."

    Down 51-32 at the break, NU lost the second half 42-40.

    "I like the fact that we didn't quit," said Combs about the second half. "We became our own worst enemy offensively."

    Junior Sara Stutz chipped in 13 points and handed out five assists, while McInerney scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. She also had five assists.

    Sophomore Kristin Cartwright chipped in eight points off the bench.

    Scouting the Lady Lions
    The Lady Lions opened the season on a four-game winning streak, disposing of Big East foes Syracuse and Notre Dame along the way. Following that, PSU hit a five-game skid which included a loss at No. 5 Duke, Rutgers and Pittsburgh. They dropped the first two conference contests in overtime at Illinois and at Purdue before meeting the Wildcats. Three Lady Lions are tallying double-figures on the season in Amanda Brown (13.9), Tyra Grant (11.9) and Adrienne Squire (11.8). Brown also leads the team in rebounding averaging 9.6 rpg.

    The Series with Penn State
    This will be the 30th time these two teams have met on the hardwood, with the Lady Lions owning a 24-5 lead in the all-time series. The last time Northwestern defeated Penn State was in 2005 when the Lady Lions visited Welsh-Ryan Arena ranked No. 25 and NU came away with a 59-48 victory.

    Purple Hair Dare!
    Head Coach Beth Combs' has been dared to dye her hair purple if there are 3,000 presold tickets to the January 7 game. Be a part of the excitement--and see coach with purple hair-- on January 7 when the 'Cats take on Big Ten rival Iowa at 2 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena. In addition, the first 500 fans college age and under will receive a purple wig! Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for children and $2 each for groups of 15 or more.

    Score early and from beyond the arc
    Northwestern is 6-1 on the year when tied or leading at the half. When hitting more 3-pointers than its opponents, NU is 6-3.

    On the upswing
    The Wildcats' 67-53 victory over Princeton put the season win total at six, matching last year's win total for the entire season.

    Setting an example
    Northwestern's upperclassmen have led the 'Cats in scoring in 13 of 14 games so far this season. Senior captain A.J. Glasauer has led NU in scoring eight times, while junior Sara Stutz has been the top scorer four times. Fellow classmate Melissa Miller has topped the scoring column twice.

    On the big stage
    In the most recent NCAA stats (12/31/06), Northwestern ranks 20th in the nation in assists per game with 17.6 (324 ranked) and 47th in blocked shots per contest with 4.5 stuffs per outing. The Wildcats crack the top 100 in FG percentage (65th-43.6), FG percentage defense (71st-37.5), FT percentage (96th-71.0) and 3-point FG percentage (74th-34.6).

    Glasauer leading the way
    Senior captain A.J. Glasauer has been the Wildcats' leading scorer in eight out of NU's first 14 contests. She is averaging a team-best 14.1 points per game, while dishing out a team-high 47 assists. The Freiburg, Germany averaging 29.9 minutes per game and a team-best 17-of-41 (42 percent) from beyond the arc. She also is third in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio with 1.74 (27 turnovers compared to 47 assists).

    Coming out of the blocks
    Freshman Kaitlin McInerney has made a statement early in her career, shooting a team-best 62 percent (51-of-82) from the field while also pulling down 6.5 rpg. She recorded the first double-double of her career on Dec. 16 against Nebraska, recording 10 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. McInerney is second in the Big Ten in FG percentage (.622) and 9th in blocked shots. The Oak Brook native has been the 'Cats leading rebounder in five games so far this season.

    Conference call
    The Wildcats are atop the Big Ten standings in several statistical categories. NU is second in assists (17.46), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.00) and third in defensive rebounds (27.57). NU is fourth in 3-point FG made (4.71) and fifth in FG percentage defense (.375), 3-point FG percentage defense (.287) and blocked shots (4.50). For a full rundown of all conference categories, please see page 4 of this release.

    Miller time
    Junior Melissa Miller poured in a career-high 16 points against Utah on Dec. 20. Miller dumped in 13 points and 13 rebounds against Illinois-Chicago on Nov. 29, marking Northwestern's first double-double of the season. Miller followed that performance with a 10-point, 12-rebound encore against Princeton in the first game of the Mildred and Roger L. White Invitational. The junior is the team's leading rebounder, averaging 7.3 rpg while also chipping in 7.4 ppg.