Published Saturday, January 25, 2014 AT 8:24 PM / Updated at 8:24 PM
Women’s basketball: Nebraska at Northwestern
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

When: 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston, Ill.
Radio: 93.3 FM KFFF

NORTHWESTERN (12-7, 2-4)
F, Alex Cohen, 6-5, Jr., 6.6
F, Nia Coffey, 6-1, Fr., 15.8
G, Ashley Deary, 5-4, Fr., 6.5
G, Christen Inman, 5-10, Fr., 13.1
G, Maggie Lyon, 6-1, So., 13.4

NEBRASKA (13-4, 3-2)
F, Hailie Sample, 6-1, Jr., 6.1
F, Emily Cady, 6-2, Jr., 14.3
F, Jordan Hooper, 6-2, Sr., 19.5
G, Rachel Theriot, 6-0, So., 13.6
G, Tear’a Laudermill, 5-9, Jr., 8.6

Scouting Northwestern: The Wildcats sport the Big Ten’s youngest starting five. They’re athletic but mistake-prone, and any team that starts three freshmen will sooner or later hit the fatigue wall. Nia Coffey could be the Big Ten’s best freshman, an aggressive interior scorer and Northwestern’s only decent rebounder. She had 16 points and nine rebounds in Nebraska’s 66-65 win over the Wildcats Jan. 2. The Wildcats generally get hammered on the boards — they’ve been outrebounded by an average of 12.7 in Big Ten play — but they hung well with the Huskers in the first game, losing the rebounding battle 41-39. Northwestern, like Nebraska, can fall too much in love with the 3-pointer. The best long-range shooter, Lauren Douglas, comes off the bench and has hit 43.6 percent of her 3-pointers this year. Maggie Lyon missed 7 of 8 from long range in Lincoln.

Scouting Nebraska: Sunday isn’t a must-win for the Huskers’ Big Ten title hopes — Penn State, once again, has grabbed an early lead in the league race — but Nebraska has a fairly average RPI of 72 to protect, and losing at No. 75 Northwestern wouldn’t help that rating much. A bye week should help the Huskers get back the spring in their legs. Jordan Hooper — who looked tired in the last two home games — will look to get her interior game going Sunday against a smaller Northwestern team. When Hooper can hit the six-footers, the 3-pointers are easier to create. Emily Cady and Rachel Theriot — last week’s Big Ten player of the week — are on the best tears of their careers, but defenses will eventually adjust away from Hooper to them, and all three players have to be ready for that development. It’d be good if NU could get big games from guards Tear’a Laudermill and Brandi Jeffery at the same time, instead of having them alternate strong performances.

Opening tips: Nebraska is 3-1 against Northwestern since joining the Big Ten. … The Wildcats’ best win came at home over Purdue, but on Thursday the Boilermakers beat them by 25 in West Lafayette, Ind. … Northwestern is 10-2 at home this year.

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at sam.mckewon@owh.com. And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.