Women’s Basketball: Pulliam’s late free throws give NU upset victory over Green Bay

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Women’s Basketball: Pulliam’s late free throws give NU upset victory over Green Bay

Jordan Hamilton surveys the court. The sophomore guard had nine points and five assists.

Jordan Hamilton surveys the court. The sophomore guard had nine points and five assists.

Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Jordan Hamilton surveys the court. The sophomore guard had nine points and five assists.

Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Daily file photo by Noah Frick-Alofs

Jordan Hamilton surveys the court. The sophomore guard had nine points and five assists.

Peter Warren, Sports Editor

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Women’s Basketball


With a little over two minutes left, it appeared Northwestern was on its way to a season-opening loss to Green Bay.

Down 55-47 on the road to the Phoenix, the Wildcats had scored only two baskets in the previous four minutes. But NU — highlighted by a transition layup by senior forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and three-pointer by freshman guard Sydney Wood — went on a seven-point run to bring the deficit to one with 54 seconds left.

Then, the Cats got a defensive stop to give them the ball with a chance to win the game. But Laken James fouled sophomore guard Lindsey Pulliam, putting one of the Big Ten’s best free-throw shooters at the line with a chance to put NU on top.

“That is who you want at the line on our team,” coach Joe McKeown said. “She loves to be in that position. She’s fearless. I couldn’t have scripted it any better.”

Pulliam — who was only 2-for-12 from the field on the day — sunk the free throws. Green Bay had a chance to tie the game, but Hailey Oskey missed a three-pointer and then Madison Wolf missed the follow up before junior forward Abi Scheid grabbed the basketball and was fouled.

Scheid added an insurance free throw as NU (1-0) held on and pulled off the 57-55 upset of Green Bay (0-1) at the Kress Center.

“In practice, we always harp on just finishing plays and finishing out whatever we are are doing story and just having confidence that you can finish the game no matter what the score is,” Pulliam said.

The first quarter of play was sloppy by both sides. NU shot 3-for-15 from the field with six turnovers, while Green Bay was not any better, shooting 3-for-14 with six turnovers. Pulliam missed her first six shots before hitting a buzzer-beating layup at then end of the quarter to tie the game at seven.

Both teams played much better in the second quarter, as Oskey caught fire. Playing in her collegiate game, Oskey — who was named Ms. Wisconsin Basketball 2018 as the best high school player in the Badger State — went a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc in the quarter to pace Green Bay to a three-point halftime lead.

McKeown said the team had not seen film on Oskey heading into the day and only knew that she was a good shooter.

“They did a good job screening for her. She did a good job and made a couple of tough shots,” McKeown said. “She’s a really good player.”

The Phoenix came out of the halftime break stronger than the Cats, pushing their advantage to as high as 11 points while NU was held to only two points during a six-minute stretch in the middle of the quarter. However, the Cats scored seven points in the final two-plus minutes to keep NU in the game.

Kunaiyi-Akpanah captured her first double-double of the season as she finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. The sophomore guard duo of Pulliam and Jordan Hamilton each dropped nine points with Hamilton dishing out five assists.

“It’s a really big win,” Pulliam said. “Beating a usual top team and just giving us confidence going into our home opener against Duke is a big help for us.”

Email: peterwarren2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @thepeterwarren

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