Coming off their disappointing loss to Kansas State, the Wildcats took care of business in their third game in three days, wrapping up the BTI Invitational with a 68-55 win over North Dakota State. NU is now 10-2 on the year. It wasn't a particularly notable win, except that the already short-handed Wildcats were even more short-handed, as Dannielle Diamant missed the game with a stomach ailment. (Here's a nice read on Diamant and her grandfather, Jerry Tarkanian, in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
In her absence, coach Joe McKeown played a four-guard lineup, and Tailor Jones got her first start of the season, playing 30 minutes and scoring 6 points, with 6 rebounds. Kendall Hackney got back on track with an efficient 27 points in 29 minutes. It's the fifth time in the past six games she's scored 20+. Morgan Jones, who on Monday was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the fourth time this season, chipped in 12 points, and Karly Roser had 10 points and 8 assists.
NU plays its final non-conference game on Tuesday at home against MAC power Toledo. Then Big Ten play starts next Friday at Iowa. The Wildcats' RPI
remains at 9th dropped to 14th, according to RealtimeRPI.com, with the loss to Kansas State. Sagarin has us a more realistic 29th.
In other non-basketball news, we have a new women's soccer coach.
NU announced today that University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee head coach Michael Moynihan has been hired to lead our Wildcats. He looks to be a solid hire. His Panthers have captured the Horizon League's last 12 championships, and he's taken them to nine NCAA tournaments in his 14 years.
Last year, the Panthers went 19-3-0 and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament, before losing to Ohio State. Moynihan's career coaching record is 193-84-38, and he's won Horizon League Coach of the Year eight times. Hopefully his success there will translate to the Big Ten.
NU is coming off a 2-16-1 season, after which head coach Stephanie Erickson was fired.