The Daily Northwestern

Women’s Basketball: Wildcats lose to Iowa, extend losing streak to seven games

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Jordan Hamilton comes off a screen from Abi Scheid. Hamilton had only 7 points on 10 shot attempts in the loss to Iowa.

Jordan Hamilton comes off a screen from Abi Scheid. Hamilton had only 7 points on 10 shot attempts in the loss to Iowa.

Keshia Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Keshia Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Jordan Hamilton comes off a screen from Abi Scheid. Hamilton had only 7 points on 10 shot attempts in the loss to Iowa.

Charlie Goldsmith, Assistant Sports Editor

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Women’s Basketball


Even when the calls went his way, coach Joe McKeown was loud. It’s a part of his nature, he said, one that hasn’t changed in nearly 1,000 games of coaching. So after freshman guard Lindsey Pulliam drove to the basket with seven minutes to go and drew an and-one with Northwestern (9-17, 2-10 Big Ten) down 12, McKeown shouted until he was sure the foul had gone his team’s way.

He got the and-one and a warning from the referees as he tried to do what he could to light a fire under his team in its 70-61 loss to Iowa (20-6, 8-5). But McKeown’s motivation wasn’t enough to turn the tide.

“We have a young team, so you’re always trying to make sure they know what I want,” he said. “I’m trying to keep the flame going.”

Throughout the game, as foul trouble limited Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and freshman guard Jordan Hamilton, NU couldn’t find a consistent source of offense. The junior forward led the Cats with 17 points in just 25 minutes, but the rest of the team shot 32.7 percent from the field.

Pulliam and Hamilton especially struggled scoring over Iowa center Megan Gustafson, who finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds and stopped several opportunities on the defensive end. McKeown said they prioritized getting the ball out of her hands, but NU had little success taking her out of the game.

“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Kunaiyi-Akpanah said. “The game plan was trying to deny (Gustafson) the ball, so whenever I was playing D on her and they passed her the ball I tried to quickly jump to it. But they run a lot of plays for her, and she’s really good.”

After spotting the Hawkeyes an 8-point lead to end the first quarter, NU eliminated the gap as Pulliam’s shooting troubled their zone defense. The freshman hit a pull-up midrange jumper to tie the score at 21, but after an Iowa timeout, the Hawkeyes switched to man-to-man and limited the Cats to 2 points for the last seven minutes of the half, while pouring in 16 themselves.

As the team’s losing streak extended to seven games, McKeown said NU has been tested in more ways than most young teams, specifying that the Cats have been challenged by dominant guards and post players and have lost blowouts and overtime thrillers in this disappointing stretch.

He said their ball-handling, shot selection and basketball IQ have to improve in less than three weeks before the Big Ten Tournament, which he sees as NU’s best chance to turn the season around. In the meantime, he said he’ll try to ensure his team stays the course.

“We’re a little bit limited with the injuries we’ve had and the youth,” he said. “But, I’ll tell you what, coming off the road at Michigan and Indiana, these guys are playing really hard. I hope people respect that.”

Email: charliegoldsmith2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @2021_Charlie

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