WILDCATS BLAST PAST BADGERS, 68-46
Five different Wildcats scored in double figures and Nia Coffey registered her fourth double-double of the
season to help (rv)/No. 25 Northwestern pick up its second Big Ten victory of the season over Wisconsin on
New Year’s Day, 68-46.
Coffey notched her fourth double-double of the season, and first since Nov. 29 at DePaul, behind 12 and 13
rebounds. It was the 12th time in her career that the sophomore has accomplished the feat.
After a slow start from the field, the Wildcats wound up making 56.5 (13-of-23) percent of their field-goal
attempts in the second half. They also shared the ball extremely well, picking up 11 assists on 13 field goals.
Ashley Deary handed out five of her season-high seven helpers in the second half alone.
Christen Inman finished the game with 12 points, four steals, four rebounds, three assists and no turnovers.
Lauren Douglas chipped in with a team-high 13 points and a team-high two blocks in 20 minutes off the
bench, while Maggie Lyon finished with 10 points and six boards. Karly Roser matched her season high with
11 points off the bench Sunday.
HISTORICAL POLL PRESENCE
For the first time in program history, Northwestern is ranked in this week’s USA Today top 25 coaches poll,
checking in at No. 25. Dating back to 2009-10, the Wildcats have received votes 15 times in past seasons,
including four this year. In the Associated Press poll, NU is the top team among others receiving votes this
week, even though it has beaten both No. 24 Michigan State and No. 25 DePaul on the road this year.
Northwestern was last ranked in the AP poll on Jan. 29, 1996 at No. 23. The highest AP ranking in prorgram
history came on Dec. 10, 1990 (6), and the ’Cats have appeared in the final poll twice. Northwestern was
ranked No. 13 to conclude the 1989-90 campaign and No. 22 at the end of the 1990-91 season.
BRIGHT BEGINNING TO BIG TEN PLAY
By defeating No. 20/22 Michigan State, 61-57, on Sunday, Northwestern won its Big Ten opener for only the
second time in the Joe McKeown era (since 2008-09). The Wildcats also defeated Michigan, 63-59, on Dec. 28,
2009 during McKeown’s second season at the helm. Sunday’s game also marked the seventh straight season
that the ’Cats opened conference play on the road and the third straight season against a ranked opponent (No.
18/15 Nebraska in 2013-14; No. 9/9 Penn State in 2012-13). After knocking down Wisconsin on New Year’s Day, NU
is 2-0 at the start of conference play for the first time since 1995-96. That season the ’Cats knocked off Illinois
and Minnesota to begin the B1G slate en route to winning five in a row to open the Big Ten slate.
Before falling at Arizona State on Dec. 21, Northwestern won 10 consecutive games to start the season,
marking the program’s longest streak since Nov. 24-Dec. 18, 1995. To find the last time that the Wildcats won
10 consecutive games prior to 2014-15, you have to go back to the 1989-90 campaign when the squad went
unbeaten in 10 contests between Dec. 9, 1989 – Jan. 21, 1990. That team, under head coach Don Perrelli, won 24
games overall and the program’s first Big Ten Championship. To date, NU has had six streaks of 10-wins-or-more,
including the most recent string, and the record for the most consecutive wins in program history is 17 (Jan. 23 –
March 8, 1980).
Statistically speaking, the Wildcats have been arguably one of the top defensive teams in the Big Ten this
season. Northwestern leads the 14-team conference in both scoring defense (54.5) and field-goal percentage
defense (.326), ranking sixth nationally in the latter category. NU also leads the Big Ten and ranks eighth in the
NCAA in steals (13.0 spg). Individually, Ashley Deary ranks second in the NCAA with 3.92 steals per game. The
’Cats also ranks among the nation’s leaders in blocks, checking in at 12th with 6.2 per game.
TOPPLING THE TOP 25
Following last Sunday’s triumph in East Lansing, Northwestern has accumulated 16 wins against teams ranked in
the top 25 or receiving votes in either the Associated Press or USA Today coaches polls under the direction of Joe
McKeown. DePaul has been the most victimized team, falling three times, including an NU victory at then-18th-
ranked DePaul on Nov. 29. The Wildcats have won five games over top-25 foes since last season. Northwestern
broke into the USA Today top 25 coaches poll on Dec. 30, checking in at No. 25. The ’Cats are tops among others
receiving votes in the AP version this week.
ALONE ON TOP
Northwestern was the last undefeated team in the Big Ten this season before dropping its first game at Arizona
State on Dec. 21. Only one other Big Ten team, Minnesota, has only one loss on their record to date. The ’Cats
opened 10-0 and had their best start to a season under head coach Joe McKeown, and the best overall since
1995-96. The Wildcats also won nine straight to open the 1995-96 season, while the program record for the
longest season-opening win streak came in 1976-77 when Northwestern won its first 12 contests before falling to
Michigan State on Feb. 12, 1977.
START FAST, FINISH STRONG
Northwestern has won 12 of its first 13 games, in large part, by jumping ahead early. The Wildcats have scored 480
first-half points this season, an average of 36.9 per game. On the other side, opponents are averaging just 22.8
points during the first 20 minutes this season, while turning the ball over 12.5 times during the first period alone.
Five times this season the opposition has commited at least 15 turnovers in the first half, including last time out
against Wisconsin (17).
Northwestern’s five regular starters – Alex Cohen, Nia Coffey, Maggie Lyon, Christen Inman and Ashley
Deary, plus super-subs Lauren Douglas and Karly Roser, have combined to play 2,412 of 2,649 possible minutes
this season (91.1 percent). In four of NU’s games (DePaul, UNLV, Arizona State and Michigan State) this was the
only rotation utilized by head coach Joe McKeown. All five starters have played at least 322 minutes with Lyon
playing the most thus far at 416 (32.0 per game). During NU’s double-overtime win against DePaul on Nov. 29, the
durable junior played 49 of a possible 50 minutes. Coffey played 43 minutes that night and Deary was in for 41.
The Wildcats played in – and won – their first double overtime game in seven seasons under head coach Joe
McKeown at No. 18/18 DePaul on Nov. 29. Northwestern is 3-2 all-time in OT games under McKeown with a three-
game winning streak dating back to Feb. 18, 2010 at Indiana. The tilt against the Blue Demons was Northwestern’s
longest game since a 78-77 triple-overtime triumph against another crosstown rival, UIC, on Dec. 18, 2003.
BALANCE IS BEST
While sophomore Nia Coffey leads the Wildcats and ranks seventh in the Big Ten in scoring, the team has used
a balanced scoring punch this season. All five starters are netting at least 7.9 points per game this year and
Northwestern’s third-leading scorer, Lauren Douglas, is averaging 11.2 points per game in only 21.2 minutes off the
bench. Three times this season, including last time out against Wisconsin, five players have scored in double figures
for Northwestern (also at DePaul and vs. Kent State).