On National Girls & Women in Sports Day, the Lady Wildcats (9-14, 2-7 B1G) fell to No. 16 Michigan, 80-59. Despite strong performances from sophomore forward Abi Scheid and junior forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah, Northwestern could not overcome their 16 turnovers and the Wolverines’ hot three-point shooting.
Off to the best start in program history, Michigan (19-4, 8-2 B1G) shot, passed and protected the ball better than the ’Cats, who have lost 4 straight. The Wolverines ended the first quarter up 26-13 and never looked back, despite Northwestern’s attempts to stay in the game. Senior guard Katelynn Flaherty (27 points) and junior center Hallie Thome (25 points) paced the Wolverines throughout the game.
The Wildcats received another excellent performance from Kunaiyi-Akpanah, who scored 11 points and secured 14 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season, tied for sixth-most in the country. She had 11 rebounds in the first half as Northwestern tried to climb back from an early hole. They outscored Michigan 15-11 in a defensive second quarter but still trailed 37-28 heading into the break.
In the second half of the game, the Wildcats were unable to contain Flaherty, who scored 20 points in the half, or Nicole Munger, who recorded 6 rebounds and 6 assists in the half. An outsized Northwestern struggled defensively in the paint and allowed Michigan to shoot 5-5 from deep. On the bright side, 8 NU players recorded one or more assists as they moved the ball pretty well offensively.
The Wildcats will get a week off before looking to halt their losing streak at Indiana on Feb. 4.