Feb. 19, 2014
NU vs. PSU Game Notes
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The Wildcats will be road warriors this week, playing at the Big Ten leaders, No. 9/11 Penn State on Thursday, Feb. 20 for a 6 p.m. CT tip. NU will return to Evanston for a brief stay before heading out on the road again to play Ohio State in Columbus on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. CT. Both games this week will air live on the Big Ten Network.
Next week is the conclusion of the regular season and the Wildcats will host Michigan State on Thursday, Feb. 27 before closing the regular season at Wisconsin on Sunday, March 2. Northwestern will be on the road for three of its final four games.
Freshman forward Nia Coffey has scored 20+ points in the last two games, recording a career-high 29 at Iowa and followed that up with 23 points vs. Minnesota. In her last nine games played (she missed the first meeting of the year vs. Penn State on Feb. 2), Coffey has scored 20+ points five times and is averaging 17.3 ppg. If you remove the Indiana and Michigan games in which she played limited minutes due to a left ankle injury, Coffey is averaging 21.4 ppg in 35.7 minutes. NU is 4-4 when Coffey reaches 20+ points and 6-1 when she posts a double-double.
LAST TIME VS. PENN STATE
Northwestern utilized a strong second half comeback to put the Big Ten leaders, No. 12/13 Penn State on the ropes, but the Lady Lions hung on for the 79-75 victory on Feb. 2 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Fueled by a career-high 26 points by Maggie Lyon, including 21 in the second half, NU led by four down the stretch after trailing by as many as 20 points in the first.
Lyon and Lauren Douglas both had big numbers in the second half, helping NU outscore PSU 44-35. Douglas had 12 second half points before fouling out late in the game to finish with 15 points and nine rebounds. Alex Cohen also had a solid effort for NU with a career-high 18 points while Christen Inman added 11. Ashley Deary matched a career-high with 11 assists. All of these players stepped up in the absence of NU’s leading scorer and rebounder, as Nia Coffey missed her first game of the year with an injury.
Northwestern had the 70-66 lead with 3:07 left. Penn State came back and drained a 3-pointer and then Talia East sunk two free throws to put the Lady Lions back on top 71-70. PSU went up by four points before Lyon made her fourth 3-pointer of the game to put the score at 74-73, PSU, with 58 seconds left.
The game remained tight in the closing seconds as Cohen went 1-of-2 from the free throw line, making it a two-point game with 14 seconds left. Inman stole the PSU in-bounds pass, giving Northwestern two final looks at the net but the Lady Lions defense stopped Inman’s jumper and Lyon’s layup after she grabbed the offensive rebound. PSU sunk its last two free throws to put the final score at 79-75.
COHEN, DOUGLAS CONTINUE TO CLIMB ALL-TIME BLOCKS LIST
Junior Alex Cohen and sophomore Lauren Douglas both rank in the top 10 in Northwestern history for career blocks. Cohen had four blocks Saturday vs. Minnesota to put her career total at 103 and become the fifth player in program history to record 100+ blocks. Cohen needs three more blocks to tie Christina Braden for fourth in NU history.
Cohen currently leads the team, averaging 2.4 blocks per game which ranks 29th in NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball. Against Penn State (2/2), Cohen tied a career high with five blocks (out of NU’s seven as a team). Cohen has the most blocks on the team this year (60), Nia Coffey is second with 47 and Lauren Douglas also is moving up the career record list for blocks with 36 this season. Here’s a look at where they rank:
1. Amy Jaeschke (2007-11)-357
2. Sarah Kwasinski (2001-05)-216
3. Anucha Browne (1982-85)-174
4. Christina Braden (1992-96)-106
5. Alex Cohen (2011-present)-103
6. Dannielle Diamant (2009-13)-93
7. Lauren Douglas (2012-present)-87
8. Heather Ertel (1989-93)-84
9. Kendall Hackney (2009-13)-75
10. Patricia Babcock (1991-94)-73
DOUGLAS DELIVERS IN NEW ROLE
Sophomore forward Lauren Douglas started all but one game for the Wildcats a year ago, but this year, she has emerged as one of the top sixth players in the country. The Collierville, Tenn., native is usually the first player off the bench for NU, though has started four games this year.
Here’s a look at her numbers last year as a starter compared to her numbers this year as a key reserve for the Wildcats (overall season stats & Big Ten only stats):
SCOUTING PENN STATE
2013-14 Record: 20-5, 11-2 B1G
All-Time Series Record: Penn State leads 32-7; PSU won last meeting 79-75 in Evanston on Feb. 2, 2014
Notable: Penn State is on a three game winning streak since dropping a 73-70 decision at home against Iowa on Feb. 6. Both of the Lady Lions’ conference losses came at home as they also were edged by Purdue, 84-74 on Jan. 12. Penn State has one of the best offenses in the Big Ten, averaging 75.4 ppg to rank second in the conference. Much of this is thanks to senior guard Maggie Lucas, who ranks second in the conference, averaging 21.6 ppg and is the Big Ten leader in free throw percentage at .967. The Lady Lions lead the Big Ten heading into Thursday’s game and would need a win against the Wildcats and a win on Monday, Feb. 24 at Nebraska to clinch at least a share of its third straight Big Ten Championship. If PSU defeats NU and Ohio State beats Nebraska and Wisconsin secures a win over Michigan State, the Lady Lions can earn a share as early as Thursday.
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