Women’s Basketball: Northwestern looks for series sweep against Nebraska


Daily file photo by Owen Stidman

Abi Scheid dribbles the ball. The junior forward didn’t play in the first matchup between the Cornhuskers and the Wildcats.

Andrew Golden, Assistant Sports Editor

Women’s Basketball

Northwestern was looking to hit its stride going into the Big Ten Tournament. But after beating Penn State at home last week, they came to a halt after losing by three points to Purdue on Sunday.

The Wildcats (15-11, 8-7) will now look to find their rhythm once again as they prepare to face Nebraska (12-14, 7-8) at home. Playing in Welsh-Ryan Arena could provide a boost for NU, who is 5-2 in conference home games.

Moreover, the Wildcats have already played the Cornhuskers once this season. In the first matchup, NU got off to a slow shooting start, shooting 27 percent from the field, but only trailed by two. The two teams were neck-and-neck for the whole game, but, in the end, the Cats made a few more buckets to get a 58-54 victory.

In that game, NU shot 8-for-16 in the fourth quarter and were led by sophomore guard Lindsey Pulliam offensively. Pulliam, the team’s leading scorer, had one of her best scoring outings of the season, scoring 21 points on 9-for-17 from the field.

Aside from Pulliam, it was a team effort offensively as six other players scored. Senior center Pallas Kuniayi-Akpanah and sophomore Jordan Hamilton both scored in double figures following Pulliam.

But in Sunday’s game, Hamilton suffered an ankle injury, and the team didn’t know the extent of the injury after the game. Although Hamilton could be missing, the Cats will have junior forward Abi Scheid, who missed the first matchup between NU and Nebraska.

Scheid’s size, along with Kuniayi-Akpanah, could help the Cats contain Nebraska’s leading scorer, Leigha Brown. Brown, who averages 10.1 points per game, was almost non-existent against NU in the first matchup. Kuniayi-Akpanah held the freshman forward to six points on 2-11 shooting from the field.

Although Brown has only started two games for the Cornhuskers this season, she could have a big impact on the game if the Cats don’t play tight defense. In conference play, Brown has scored in double figures six times, including 30 points against Purdue less than two weeks ago.

Junior guard Hannah Whitish was the only Nebraska player to score in double figures for the Cornhuskers when the teams first faced off. But the Cornhuskers have the ability as a team to produce.

Nebraska comes into the game ranked fourth in the Big Ten with 72.8 points per game, but NU is giving up just 59.4 points per game on the season.

If the Wildcats can produce another great defensive game, they could complete the season sweep of Nebraska. Right now, NU would be the seventh seed in the Big Ten Tournament, but a strong finish to end the season could move the Cats up the rankings.

Despite being seventh, NU is tied with Minnesota and Purdue with a 8-7 conference record. The Wildcats are also a game back of Michigan for the fourth seed, a spot that guarantees a two byes in the tournament.

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