Evanston, Ill. — It was a back and fourth game in the first quarter with Purdue holding onto an eight-point lead. However, the Wildcats picked up their intensity with strong defensive play, as the Wildcats a 76-60 win over the Boilermakers and are now 2-0 in conference play.
Northwestern Head Coach, Joe McKeown seemed proud of the team he saw on the court today stating, “We played with a lot of purpose today. I thought defensively we changed some things, move some people around, and the second quarter; defensively we did a great job.”
Purdue took charge in the first quarter running with an 8-0 lead against the Wildcats. The Boilermakers took advantage of Northwestern’s four turnovers in the first to get a slight lead. Eventually, Northwestern’s Christen Inman would get the scoring done for the Wildcats as she led the charge with 12 points. Inman was a prime example of Northwestern’s ability for anybody to take a leadership role on the court.
“That’s really what I love about our team,” Inman said, “We have a lot of different players who can step up at any given moment, so I think that makes us that much harder to guard.”
Inman’s aggressive play would put the Wildcats in the lead to end the first, 20-19.
Coming into the second quarter, Northwestern found their footing thanks to floor general, Ashley Deary who found her momentum by putting up nine points before being taken out due to a minor cut.
Due to the sloppy play by Purdue, the pace of the contest changed drastically for them as they only managed to score seven points compared to Northwestern’s 19. As the Boilermakers and Wildcats headed to their respective locker rooms for intermission, Northwestern led 39-26.
Purdue came into the third with a boost of confidence and was able to find its groove, not allowing the Wildcats to take the game without a fight. Slowly but surely, the Boilermakers were making an attempt to cut down its deficit.
Dominique McBryde was an active member for the Boilermakers as she came away with some fast break scoring in the third. Both teams seemed to level out towards the end of the period with 11 fast break points apiece. Purdue put up 21 points in those 10 minutes, which was led by Andreona Keys with 13 points. Despite an increase in pace and enthusiasm for Purdue, Northwestern still had the lead, 62-47.
In her return game to the hardwood, Lauren Douglas made a significant impact as her energy in the final stanza of the game kept Purdue in the review mirror. Douglas found her way back into the game in a grand manner as she contributed 18 points, seven rebounds on the night.
“It’s a lot better being on the court, last year was pretty hard,” Douglas said.
“She made a lot of good plays, good decisions in the first half,” Coach McKeown stated on Douglas’ return.
And it cannot go without mention; Deary may be small, but she sure is mighty. Deary would make tonight one to remember putting some accomplishments in her pocket. She tied the Big Ten’s record for all-time steals with 372. One may wonder if her New Year’s resolution would be stop stealing… but in this case, I’m sure her team supports her talent.
Northwestern wraps things up in 2016, and the Wildcats are now able to ring in the New Year with a 2-0 record in conference and with some positive steps towards their upcoming game against No. 14 Ohio State on Tuesday.
Purdue drops to 0-1 in conference play and will return home to play Michigan State on Wednesday, Jan. 4; tip-off is set for 6 p.m ET.