Women’s Basketball: Wildcats cruise to victory over UIC

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Women’s Basketball: Wildcats cruise to victory over UIC

Lindsey Pulliam shoot a jumper. The sophomore guard scored 22 points against UIC.

Lindsey Pulliam shoot a jumper. The sophomore guard scored 22 points against UIC.

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Lindsey Pulliam shoot a jumper. The sophomore guard scored 22 points against UIC.

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Lindsey Pulliam shoot a jumper. The sophomore guard scored 22 points against UIC.

Joseph Wilkinson, Reporter

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Northwestern remained undefeated Thursday night with a 87-44 win over Illinois-Chicago. The Wildcats (3-0) cruised to the victory behind sophomore guard Lindsey Pulliam who had 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting.

Pulliam was aided by senior forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah, who grabbed an unsurprising 10 rebounds and added six points for good measure. Kunaiyi-Akpanah has tallied at least 10 rebounds in all three games this year.

“I was just being aggressive, being confident and trying to go at them from the jump,” Pulliam said. “We just keep building our confidence and focusing on getting better every day, because if we get better, we’re going to continue to keep winning.”

Freshmen Veronica Burton and Sydney Wood each sat out with injuries, and coach Joe McKeown said both would take it “day-by-day” and that he didn’t see either being out for long. The two have combined to average 10.5 points per game so far this season.

Into their place stepped junior guard Byrdy Galernik. Making her fifth career start, Galernik ran the offense like an experienced veteran. She helped the Cats — who were extremely turnover-prone last season — break the Flames’ full-court press in the first half and finish with only 12 turnovers. She also pitched in with eight points and nine assists.

Junior forward Bryana Hopkins also shone with her most playing time of the season, putting up 14 points while shooting an efficient 6-for-7 shooting.

“Byrdy came in and played a great floor game for us, did a great job for us,” McKeown said. “We’re playing against ourselves as much as the opponent, so we’ve got to clean up the things that we feel that we’re capable of doing.”

The Flames (1-1) were led by guard Taylor Toney, who had 12 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Guard Brittany Byrd was the only other UIC player in double figures, as she added 11 points on 11 shots.

It was a revenge game for UIC coach Tasha Pointer, who was an assistant coach at NU last year before taking the head job with the Flames. Pointer’s squad struggled to generate good looks against the Cats’ matchup zone defense, shooting 32 percent from the field. The visitors struggled both from behind the arc, going 2-for-16, and at the free throw line, finishing 6-for-10.

“You want to beat your former team. Who wants to lose to their former team?” Pointer said. “Not only did we lose, we got punched in the face. And we could not recover. It was a technical knockout.”

Junior forward Abi Scheid added 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting, making her NU’s second-leading scorer on the night. Other than sophomore guard Brooke Pikiell, junior forward Amber Jamison was the only NU player to finish with zero points, missing all seven of her shots from the field.

It was a banner night for the end of the bench. Freshman guard Jess Sancataldo poured in 10 points on only three field goal attempts. She also assisted on fellow freshman Courtney Shaw’s first collegiate points.

“(Amber’s) playing really well. The ball didn’t go into tonight; she had a tough shooting night, but she was on the glass hard, she can defend one through five,” McKeown said. “Jess came in, she’s just getting her passport settled from Australia. She’s learning how to play, but can score the basketball.”

Email: josephwilkinson2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson

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