Feb. 9, 2007
Penn State Game Notes
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- After taking No. 24 Michigan State down to the wire, Northwestern now turns its attention to Penn State, as the Lady Lions visit Welsh-Ryan Arena for a 2 p.m. contest Sunday.
Last Time Out ...
Northwestern exhibited stellar defense, holding No. 24 Michigan State to just 55 points, but the Spartans held on for the win, 55-48, Thursday evening at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Three Wildcats scored in double-figures, led by freshman Kaitlin McInerney who dumped in 15 points.
The Wildcats were down only seven at the break, thanks to an aggressive start and a solid defensive effort. But Michigan State scored 11 unanswered points to take a 40-22 three minutes into the second half. But the Wildcats responded a few minutes later with an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 12 with 12 minutes remaining.
Over the next four minutes, the two teams matched each other's scoring, until the Wildcats exploded on a 10-0 run over the following four minutes to pull to within four, 48-44, with two minutes left.
But that is as close as the 'Cats would come, as MSU's Mia Johnson hit four free throws to inflate the lead to 52-44 with 1:06 remaining. Northwestern was forced to foul, and MSU hit the free-bees to seal its 18th victory of the season.
Northwestern came out of the gates ready to play, jumping on the Spartans early and forcing them to play catch up for most of the first half. The 'Cats led by as many as nine points in the opening stanza, capitalizing on 13 MSU turnovers, which translated to 10 points.
Though NU shot just 21 percent from the field, it stepped up performance in other areas, pulling down an impressive 20 offensive rebounds and inducing 23 MSU turnovers. The 'Cats recorded 11 steals while turning over the ball only 15 times themselves. Both teams scored 26 points in the second half.
McInerney's game-high 15 points nearly matched her career-high for points (16) and she led the Wildcats in rebounding with seven boards, four of which were offensive. Kristin Cartwright (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) and Sara Stutz (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) joined McInerney in double-figures with 10 points each. After a career-best 11 rebounds against Michigan on Sunday, Cartwright continued to perform on the glass, recovering seven boards against the Spartans.
Scouting the Lady Lions
Penn State is led by senior Amanda Brown who is nearly averaging a double-double, recording 13.8 ppg and 9.8 rpg. Tyra Grant is not far behing Brown, contributing 13.4 ppg. The Lady Lions enter today's contest with a 12-12 overall record and a 5-6 mark in conference play. Penn State's most impressive conference victory was a 69-58 win against Michigan State at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Series with Penn State
Penn State and Northwestern meet for the 31st time today, with the Lady Lions holding a commanding 24-6 advantage in the all-time series. The last time Northwestern defeated Penn State was on Jan. 27, 2005 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. It was the first time the 'Cats had defeated a ranked team in the Beth Combs era.
Cartwright Elevating Her Game
Since entering the starting line up against Wisconsin on Jan. 21, sophomore Kristin Cartwright has been the team's third-leading scorer, averaging 7.6 ppg. The sophomore is averaging 4.9 rebounds per game during that six-game span. Against Michigan on Sunday, Cartwright pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and on Thursday, she grabbed a team-high seven.
Playing the Best to be the Best
According to collegeRPI.com, Northwestern is playing the 14th strongest schedule in the country. The Wildcats' slate includes six opponents in last season's AP top-25, and six that are currently in the top-25, or receiving votes in this week's poll. Those six include No. 4 Ohio State, No. 13 Purdue and No. 21 Nebraska. Michigan State, Mississippi and Utah were among those receiving votes.
Taking Care of the Rock
Northwestern's 12 turnovers against Ohio State on Jan. 14 was the lowest of the season. The 'Cats forced a dozen Buckeye mishaps as well.
Is That Purple I See?
Yes. Head coach Beth Combs sported an unusual "new-do" for the Jan. 7 game vs. Iowa. Combs accepted a dare to dye her hair purple if there were 3,000 pre-sold tickets to the game. The goal was reached and Combs' hair was a lovely shade of violet.
Stutz Finding Double-Digits
Junior Sara Stutz has consistently scored in double figures throughout the season, tallying double digits in 19 of NU's 25 games. The Glenview, Ill., native is second on the team in scoring (11.3 ppg) and second in FG percentage (43 percent). Stutz has also dished out 58 assists.
Setting an Example
Northwestern's upperclassmen have led the 'Cats in scoring in 20 of 24 games so far this season. Senior captain A.J. Glasauer has led NU in scoring 13 times, while junior Sara Stutz has been the top scorer six times. Fellow classmate Melissa Miller has topped the scoring column three times while Nadia Bibbs has been the top scorer once.
On the Big Stage
In the most recent NCAA stats (2/4/07), Northwestern ranks 35th in the nation in assists, averaging 15.9 per contest. A.J. Glasauer leads NU with 76 while Nadia Bibbs has dished out 73. Both distributed a team-high four assists against Ohio State on Feb. 1.
Glasauer Leading the Way
Senior captain A.J. Glasauer has been the Wildcats' leading scorer in 13 out of NU's 25 contests. She is averaging a team-best 12.2 points per game, while dishing out a Wildcat-high 76 assists. Glasauer recorded a season-high eight assists in Northwestern's 65-63 loss to Minnesota on Jan. 11. She is also hitting a team-best 24-of-70 (35 percent) from beyond the arc and is third in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio with 1.44 (52 turnovers compared to 75 assists).
Freshmen Kaitlin McInerney and Beth Marshall have made statements early in their Wildcat careers. McInerney is shooting a team-best 51 percent (72-of-140) from the field while also pulling down 5.5 rpg. She recorded the first double-double of her career on Dec. 16 against Nebraska, scoring 10 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. The Oak Brook, Ill., native has been the 'Cats leading rebounder in seven games so far this season, including Thursday's game against Michigan State (7). Marshall has started the last six games at the point, averaging a solid 21 minutes per game. She has also pulled down 12 rebounds and recorded five steals over the past six contests.
Glasauer Golden From The Line
Senior A.J. Glasauer's 11-of-14 performance from the free-throw line at Utah on Dec. 20 ranks second in the Big Ten for free-throws made and first in attempts.
Junior Melissa Miller poured in a career-high 16 points against Utah on Dec. 20. Miller registered 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 6.7 rpg while also contributing 5.7 ppg.
Anucha Browne Spotlighted By Big Ten
February is Black History Month and the Big Ten Conference announced its celebration of African-Americans on Big Ten campuses. During the month, the League's website (www.bigten.org) will feature a story on a male and female student-athlete from each institution. Northwestern's two outstanding African-American student-athletes the Conference chose to spotlight are Anucha Browne Sanders and Ron Burton.
At every home Big Ten game this season, the Wildcats will select an honorary coach of the game. Guest coaches can include staff members and members of the faculty. The guest coaches will be announced during starting lineups, participate in the pre-game meal, sit with the team on the bench, attend shoot around and warm-ups and be in the locker room for the pre-game talk. Today's guest coach is Emily Sahakian.
Two Wildcats were busy honing their skills overseas this summer. A.J. Glasauer was Northwestern's representative on the Big Ten Foreign Tour that played in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The squad went 4-0 over the 11-day excursion. Junior point guard Nadia Bibbs was named to the Mexican National team that traveled to Cartagena de Indias, Colombia to compete in the Central American Games.
Future Looking Bright
Beth Combs signed arguably the best recruiting class in Northwestern history this season. Highlighting the class is Amy Jaeschke, who was ranked as high as No. 14 by Blue Scout.com. Savannah Stedman, Shantina Boyd and Meisha Reed complete the signing class. Jenny Eckart, a transfer from Syracuse, will also be eligible to play next season. She averaged 9.9 ppg. and started every game at the point for the Orange last season. For more information, please see page five of this release.
Live From Welsh-Ryan Arena
All home games will be broadcast LIVE on NUSports.com via College Sports Online's All-Access. To watch the games, navigate to the audio/video page on NUSports.com, where a link to the broadcasts will appear shortly the game. All-Access is a premium service offering live and tape-delayed broadcasts of many Northwestern sports and includes exclusive interviews, highlights, features and press conference content.
More than half of this year's roster is comprised of in-state products. Six Wildcats--Nadia Bibbs (Chicago), Lakhiyia Hicks (Rockford), Erin Dickerson (Chicago), Kristin Cartwright (Lake Forest), Sara Stutz (Glenview) and Kaitlin McInerney (Oak Brook)--hail from the Land of Lincoln.