In an afternoon matinee, the No. 15 Northwestern Wildcats cruised past the Kangaroos of UMKC by a final of 80-38, improving to 11-1 on the season. The ‘Roos were coming off a four game win streak, while the ‘Cats were coming off their first loss of the season Saturday against DePaul.
"After Saturday’s game it gave us a chance to get back to practice and just address some things that we feel like if we aspire to be a contender in the Big Ten we need to work on," Coach Joe McKeown said.
While UMKC got on the board first, it was all ‘Cats in the first half. Senior Maggie Lyon, knocked down two threes in the first period to count for six of her 12 points in the first half. Lyon was limited to just one three-point attempt in Northwestern’s loss against DePaul.
"Shes doing a really good job," McKeown said on Lyon. "We’ve got to get her the ball and just make people pay. She’s going to be a big target just like Nia."
Kristen Moore led UMKC with 9 points, but turnovers plagued the Kangaroos. Moore had six of her own turnovers to add to 24 of the team’s total turnovers. The Wildcats, on the other hand had only two turnovers on the day.
"I thought we were doing a good job of sharing the ball," McKeown said. "We had two turnovers today which has to be some record for us or a team I’ve coached. We are unselfish and we are starting to share the ball at the right time. The next couple weeks we are really going to have to take care of the ball."
In the second half, the Wildcats relied more on underclassmen as their lead expanded. Freshmen Jordan Hankins, saw 17 minutes of play and added six points to the board and had three assists, while fellow freshmen Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah, saw 14 minutes of play in which she grabbed eight boards.
Northwestern has nine days off before they open up Big Ten play on the road against Penn State on New Years Eve.
"With 14 teams in our league, everybody is really good," McKewon said. "There are no nights off, so I think it will be good for us to get some time off and spend some time with our families."