Women’s Basketball: Northwestern puts up season high scoring total in blowout win


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Sophomore guard Veronica Burton prepares to take a shot. Burton had

Charlie Goldsmith, Reporter

Veronica Burton hit the hesitation move so hard that by the time she picked up her quick in-and-out dribble, the sophomore guard’s defender was on the ground five feet away.The crowd erupted, the entire bench stood up and even Burton had to take a second to consider what she’d just done.

After Burton made eye contact with the defender she’d just vanquished, Burton dished it off to Lindsey Pulliam, and the junior guard hit a two-dribble pull-up to give Northwestern an even bigger first-half lead.

“She made up her mind (to pass) even before that girl fell,” senior guard Byrdy Galernik said. “You’re going to see a lot more of that this year.”

This duo has been effective since Burton arrived on campus, key parts of a much improved offense this year. The Wildcats had a season-high scoring total in a 69-48 win over Valparaiso (1-3), giving NU (4-0) another boost to its increasingly promising NCAA Tournament resume.

The Cats had just as strong a start to the season last year, winning their first five games in 2018. That team faded in Big Ten play. This year, NU has kept showing how much better the team has gotten by following Sunday’s win over Duke with a commanding victory over the Crusaders.

Vaparaiso kept it close in the first quarter by hitting four threes in the first ten minutes, but then the Cats went on a 15-3 run that lasted the entire second quarter. Senior forward Abi Scheid hit two 3-pointers to open that second quarter run, and the Cats’ full-court 2-3 press forced eight turnovers on 17-second quarter possessions from Valparaiso.

“We really started focusing on stopping their 3-point shooting,” Scheid said. “We were really focusing on getting a hand up in their face because everyone on their team could shoot.”

After one of the best defensive quarters in years, NU took a 17-point lead into halftime, and Scheid kept that momentum going with a strong second-half performance. She finished with 21 points, leading the team to another impressive offensive showing.

The Cats never trailed by fewer than 17 points after the break, and coach Joe McKeown emptied the bench in the fourth quarter. Despite playing without starting guard Jordan Hamilton and having off-shooting nights from Pulliam and Burton, McKeown said the team is playing like a Sweet 16-caliber team.

“Last year, there were times we were a great team,” McKeown said. “These guys now are starting to step up.”

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