Women’s Basketball: Pulliam dominates in upset over Indiana


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Lindsey Pulliam fires a long two. She led NU with 27 points in an upset over No. 25 Indiana.

Ryan Wangman, Audio Editor

Women’s Basketball

Sophomore guard Lindsey Pulliam may have found her home away from home in the Hoosier State.

In a dominant performance on the road Wednesday night, the Maryland native was a nearly perfect 11-13 from the charity stripe and notched a season-high 27 points to lead all scorers and carry Northwestern (10-7, 3-3 Big Ten) to an upset win over No. 25 Indiana (15-3, 4-2), 75-69.

But this isn’t the first time Pulliam has stolen the show at Assembly Hall. When NU made its trip to Indiana last season, she exploded for a career-best 33 points, as she brought the team back from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime in a game that ultimately ended in defeat.

“I mean I like this gym, obviously,” Pulliam said. “I guess it’s a shooter’s gym but I was just aggressive from the jump.”

Pulliam said she didn’t change her approach from last Sunday’s loss to Purdue. Instead, she said she continued to shoot from spots where she spends a lot of time practicing and feels confident in her ability.

For the conference matchup, Coach Joe McKeown elected to make changes to the starting lineup in the frontcourt, replacing junior center Abbie Wolf and her interior presence at the five with the smaller junior forward Bryana Hopkins and shifting senior center Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah back to her native position. The move paid off on the defensive end, as the Cats looked more fluid in their rotations and held Indiana — an offense that averaged 73.6 points per game heading into the contest— to 69 points on its home floor.

Pulliam said the team focused its gameplan on trying to get the Hoosiers out of rhythm on offense by protecting the paint and locking down shooters, focusing on containing Indiana’s scoring threats. The strategy paid off as Indiana’s two leading scorers, guard Ali Patberg and forward Brenna Wise, combined to shoot 44 percent from the floor.

“Coach talks about always taking out their best two players and not to let two players beat you,” Pulliam said. “So we really keyed in on them and trying to limit their shot attempts and limit them from getting the ball on offense.”

Still without one of its top scorers in junior forward Abi Scheid, NU was forced to look to other options to distribute her minutes and to help shoulder the offensive load. After some early foul trouble, Kunaiyi-Akpanah contributed in a big way with a double-double on 11 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman guard Veronica Burton picked up the rest of the slack with a career-high 19 points, sinking five of her 10 threes.

Burton dismissed the idea that there was pressure to fill Scheid’s role in the offense but instead suggested that the team excels at stepping up and finding different ways to put the ball in the basket. She said her career game came after she listened to the advice of those around her.

“Everyone just keeps telling me to shoot the ball, shoot the ball,” Burton said. “I just came into this game with a different mentality and just trying to look for my shot and stuff. So I just listened to them and obviously they trusted me so that gave me more confidence to do so.”

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