Women’s Basketball: Wildcats buried by poor shooting after early struggles dig deep hole


Owen Stidman/The Daily Northwestern

Jordan Hamilton makes a dribble move. The sophomore guard finished with 6 points in Sunday’s loss to Purdue.

Ryan Wangman, Audio Editor

Women’s Basketball

Less than a week after falling to Michigan by a point in Ann Arbor, Northwestern once again couldn’t escape with a Big Ten win in Sunday’s one-possession defeat to Purdue at home.

Again, the Wildcats had a shot at the end that could have won the game, and for the second time in a week, it rimmed out.

NU (9-7, 2-3 Big Ten) snapped a streak of three consecutive home victories after falling behind early to the Boilermakers (13-5, 4-1) and losing 57-54.

On the Cats’ last meaningful offensive possession, sophomore guard Lindsey Pulliam drove toward the basket before spinning around and pulling up for a jumper, watching as the ball took an unfortunate roll out of the hoop. Purdue guard Tamara Farquhar — a 49 percent free throw shooter on the year — snagged the rebound, and then nailed two crucial shots from the charity stripe that ended up sealing the three-point winning margin for the Boilermakers after a desperation Hail Mary from sophomore guard Jordan Hamilton sailed wide.

Pulliam said that NU’s last play was drawn up so that if she had a look, she would take it, and emphasized that the miss wouldn’t alter her mindset going forward.

“I’ll shoot it again next week, you know, short memory,” Pulliam said. “Every game. It didn’t go down but next game (I’ll) come out hard, aggressive and shoot it again.”

With junior forward Abi Scheid sidelined due to injury, junior center Abbie Wolf drew the start alongside senior forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah, limiting the Cats’ outside options and shifting the focal point of their attack to the interior.

NU’s first-half struggles were highlighted by an abysmal second quarter in which the Cats shot just 18 percent from the floor and managed only 2 points in the paint. Pulliam, who led the team in scoring with 15 points on the afternoon, was one of two NU players to make more than one basket in the opening twenty minutes.

“We have to come out stronger, we have to come out with a bang, we have to come out aggressive and ready to play,” Pulliam said. “It’s just a learning point today for our next game.”

Junior forward Ae’Rianna Harris starred for the Boilermakers, scoring 16 points on 8-for-14 shooting while grabbing 11 boards and adding four blocks. Off of the stat sheet, Harris was a dominant defensive force in the paint, repeatedly contesting Kunaiyi-Akpanah inside and holding her to 40 percent from the floor.

With only nine team fouls, Purdue also benefited from its cleanest game of the season as the mark fell well below its season average of about 16 fouls per game. The Boilermakers also limited NU in transition, as the Cats managed only four fast-break points in the entire game. The offense hasn’t lived up to expectations so far in conference play, causing the Cats to drop to ninth place in the Big Ten.

Coach Joe McKeown praised his team’s hard-fought game, but admitted that the team occasionally disappearing on the glass hurt the team in a big way. Still, he remained optimistic.

“This team has a lot of heart and a lot of spirit, so we’ll bounce back,” McKeown said.

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