Women’s Basketball: Northwestern falls 61-58 to Purdue on last-second shot


Daily file photo by Owen Stidman

Lindsey Pulliam tries to work through traffic. The sophomore guard scored 16 points in Sunday’s loss against Purdue.

Andrew Golden, Assistant Sports Editor

Women’s Basketball

The last time Northwestern played Purdue, the Boilermakers got ahead by as many as 13 points before the Wildcats made a furious comeback. In the end, sophomore guard Lindsey Pulliam missed the shot that would’ve put NU ahead, and Purdue narrowly escaped with a three-point victory.

On Sunday, this time with NU on the road, the situation was reversed. The Cats jumped out to a 10-point lead in the third quarter, but the Boilermakers cut into it, eventually tying the game by the end of the third quarter.

Purdue had the lead for most of the fourth, but with less than a minute remaining, Purdue couldn’t stop Pulliam as she came through with a clutch bucket this time around to knot the score at 58. Still, in the end, Purdue got the best of them.

Boilermakers’ guard Karissa McLaughlin hit her ninth 3-pointer of the game with 1.4 seconds remaining to hand NU another heart-wrenching 3-point loss to Purdue, this time 61-58.

“The kid made a great shot, but we had a great look too that would’ve sent it to overtime,” coach Joe McKeown said. “(It was) just a hard-fought Big Ten game … just one that we had opportunities (to win), but just couldn’t close.”

Both teams struggled to shoot the ball at the start of the game. In the first four minutes of action, freshman guard Veronica Burton scored the lone basket on a 3-point field goal. However, the Cats and Boilermakers eventually got going, as the two teams traded leads back-and-forth throughout the first quarter.

The scoring was pretty even throughout the first half and by the time the game reached halftime, NU only had a two-point lead on Purdue at the break. In the second quarter, sophomore guard Jordan Hamilton twisted her ankle on an opposing defender’s foot and was eventually helped off the floor.

“Losing Jordan Hamilton in the second quarter was hard,” McKeown said. “She’s a great player and I think people stepped up to help.”

Despite the fact that the Wildcats got help from freshman guard Sydney Wood, Hamilton was still missed by her teammates, but not by McLaughlin. Purdue’s sophomore guard had one of the best games of her career, scoring 28 points, and all of her made field goals came on 3-pointers.

The Cats played good defense on her at times, but, in other cases, left her open due to miscommunications defensively. The absence of Hamilton proved costly on defense and on offense.

NU had a 10-point lead with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter but couldn’t keep its lead without Hamilton. After being down 42-32, the Boilermakers went on a 29-18 run to close the game. McLaughlin herself scored 16 points during that stretch, knocking down five of her nine 3-pointers, including the game-winner.

“I don’t think our offense was the big problem,” McKeown said. “We just had breakdowns defensively at the wrong time and they made tough shots.”

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