Quick Response: No. 6 Indiana too many for Northwestern as “Cats lose 72-50

Welsh-Ryan Arena wasn’t as lucky for the ‘Cats on Sunday afternoon as Assembly Hall was earlier in the day, as Northwestern (6-9, 0-5 B1G) fell to No. 6 Indiana (14-1, 4-1). ) 72-50.

The Hoosiers were led by Mackenzie Holmes’ double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Sydney Wood stepped up to Northwestern with 10 points and five assists, while Jasmine McWilliams also added 10 points.

The ‘Cats won the opening pick but immediately turned it over with a travel. Two free throws from Sydney Parrish opened the scoring, and the Hoosiers went on a 7-0 run before Caleigh Walsh got Northwestern on the board. A good look from Paige Mott found Walsh for an easy layup to reduce Indiana’s lead to 12-6 midway through the first quarter. The Wildcats struggled to maintain control of the basketball as they already had five turnovers in five minutes of play.

Coming out of the break, both teams were sloppy on each end of the floor. Indiana failed to find the bottom of the net, but Northwestern’s offensive struggles continued as both teams remained scoreless for almost two minutes after the time-out. Grace Berger’s knight gave the Hoosiers a 16-8 lead. The ‘Cats took the lead, but a layup by Holmes five seconds from time gave IU a 20-12 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Mott started the second quarter with a block, but Holmes put it in for the first points of the quarter. Indiana, carried by Holmes, extended their lead early in the second. Holmes had all eight IU points in the second quarter, forcing Northwestern to call a timeout with seven minutes left in the quarter, 28-14 behind.

As the ‘Cats struggled offensively, Alana Goodchild sank a three, breaking a four-minute goalless streak for NU. However, Northwestern’s sales woes continued into the second quarter, adding another five sales that turned into 14 Hoosier points. Sydney Wood tried to boost the northwest offense with a three, but those were the last points the Wildcats would score as they went into the dressing room 40-24 behind.

The ‘Cats’ offensive didn’t gain momentum in the first half, shooting 38.5% from the field and getting to the line just five times. On the defensive side, NU gave up 12 points for second chances without recording one of their own. Northwestern also didn’t have a single point in the transition and was just three points away from Indiana’s six turnovers.

Both teams traded shots coming out of the half and the ‘Cats started finding the net. With six minutes left in the third quarter, the Hoosiers tried to pull NU away when a Sara Scalia three-pointer gave IU a 50-32 lead. But two straight turnovers by the Hoosiers halted their momentum at the media timeout at 16.

After the time-out, Mott found Jasmine McWilliams for an easy layup to reduce the IU lead to 14 as the momentum seemed to be turning to the ‘Cats. Indiana went off the floor cold and remained goalless for more than three minutes. Northwestern had an 8-0 run, but Parrish’s free throw ended the Indiana drought.

From there, the Wildcats struggled to lock in the basketball, allowing IU to hit four offensive rebounds for 15 second-chance points in the quarter. McWilliams buried a three to reduce the Cats’ deficit to 11, but a one from Grace Berger put IU’s lead back to 14.

Northwestern turned the ball over on their first possession in the last quarter while their offensive struggles continued. A couple of IU free throws brought the lead back to 16, a lead that was insurmountable for the ‘Cats to come back. A jumper from Parrish put the Hoosiers to 22, their biggest lead of the day, as NU hadn’t made a shot from the field until Courtney Shaw made a layup with about half the quarter remaining. Both teams looked to their benches to end the game as the Wildcats never made a comeback, losing the contest 72-50.

Joe McKeown and the Wildcats return to No. 16 Iowa back. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 PM CT.