The women's basketball team knocked off Central Michigan, 69-60, in their season opener yesterday. Kendall Hackney led the team in points and rebounds with 18 and 8 while Brittany Orban had 16 and 6. Hackney put up a really nice stat line: besides the 18 and 8, she shot 4-7 from behind the arc and had an assist, a steal, and a block. Five players had 6 or more rebounds in this game. Rebounding was the biggest difference maker, as we outrebounded them 39-28, including getting 23 offensive rebounds to their 8. Those are eye-popping numbers that tell me NU could once again be tough to keep up with on the glass this season.
Freshman Morgan Jones played well in her first (real) collegiate game, scoring twelve points and grabbing 6 rebounds. She was inefficient, but her shot selection should improve quickly as she gets used to the college game and not being the team's number one scorer. Freshman Karly Roser also had a good game. She's been a big surprise with her huge contributions in the preseason and now in the team's first game. She ended up with 10 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds and has taken over the role of starting point guard.
The team mostly played 6 players -- Orban, Hackney, M. Jones, Roser, and Diamant starting with Tailor Jones coming off the bench for 23 minutes. Alex Cohen and Meghan McKeown each played 6 minutes. I don't know if the short bench was a the coach's decision or if there are injury issues, but I'd like to see more players play significant minutes in the future. We've got a lot of size on the bench that we could use come Big Ten play.
The team did a lot of things well in this game, but there are a couple of weaknesses I hope they can sort out as the season goes on. First, they shot a low percentage from the field, only 37.7%. Getting offensive rebounds, as this team does, reduces the need to shoot well, but it obviously doesn't eliminate it. We can hope that the poor shooting was a fluke -- we'll see as the season goes on. Second, the team turned the ball over 20 times (Roser unfortunately accounted for 7 of those). Turnovers were a big problem for this team last year and I hope that doesn't repeat itself again this season.
All in all, the 'Cats played a good game and got the first W of the season! Congrats to them -- we'll see more from them on Tuesday when they play Western Kentucky. Go 'Cats!