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Women’s Basketball: Northwestern looks to get back on track against Purdue

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Women’s Basketball: Northwestern looks to get back on track against Purdue

Jordan Hamilton shoots the ball. The sophomore guard scored 16 points last game against Michigan.

Jordan Hamilton shoots the ball. The sophomore guard scored 16 points last game against Michigan.

Daily File Photo by Katie Pach

Jordan Hamilton shoots the ball. The sophomore guard scored 16 points last game against Michigan.

Daily File Photo by Katie Pach

Daily File Photo by Katie Pach

Jordan Hamilton shoots the ball. The sophomore guard scored 16 points last game against Michigan.

Andrew Golden, Assistant Sports Editor

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Women’s Basketball


After four games in conference play, Northwestern currently stands at 2-2 in the Big Ten. Despite losses to Rutgers and Michigan on the road, coach Joe McKeown said the Wildcats (9-6, 2-2 Big Ten) are a couple of shots away from being 4-0.

It’s been an extremely slim margin determined by health, foul trouble and a lack of execution.

In its most recent conference matchup on Tuesday, NU lost a close one against the Wolverines, due in part to the Cats’ shorthanded frontcourt. With senior forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah fouled out of the game and junior forward Abi Scheid missing most of the second half with an ankle injury, NU struggled to get rebounds.

The Cats were outrebounded 43-33, including giving up 17 offensive rebounds.

“We really got hurt with rebounding in regulation and overtime,” McKeown said. “That was the key for us.”

Despite their struggles pulling in missed shots, junior center Abbie Wolf stepped in for her two veteran teammates and played some of her best ball of the season. Wolf scored 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting, and NU hopes that her hot streak carries over into their home game on Saturday against Purdue.

In the Cats’ last home matchup against the Boilermakers in 2016, NU was able to coast to a 76-60 victory. But in the Cats’ last two most recent games, they didn’t have the same success, losing both games by a combined 5 points.

Purdue has gotten off to a hot start this season, sitting at 2-1 in the conference after beating Michigan last week.

To turn the tide after a rough game against the Wolverines, NU will have to contain the one-two punch in the Boilermakers’ backcourt. Guards Dominique Oden and Karissa McLaughlin, Purdue’s leading scorers, have combined to average 31.5 points and 6.6 assists per game this season.

But the Cats have a 1-2 punch of their own that matches up well, featuring sophomore guards Jordan Hamilton and Lindsey Pulliam, who are averaging 25.9 points per game while dishing out 5.3 assists.

In order for the Cats to come out on top this weekend, McKeown said they will have to do a better job of closing out games. In all four of their conference games this season, NU had the lead at least once during the fourth quarter.

In their loss against Rutgers, the Cats had the lead with just 1:20 remaining in the final quarter, but NU faltered down the stretch, shooting 0-for-3, turning the ball over once and committing three late fouls that lead to five points by Rutgers to ice the game.

Even in their most recent game, Pulliam hit a jumper to put the Cats up 67-61 with just over 3:30 remaining in the game. However, Michigan finished on a 17-11 run to win the game by the narrowest of margins to keep NU from closing out a conference game that would have legitimized the team in the Big Ten.

Email: andrewgolden2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @andrewcgolden

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