Women’s Basketball: Northwestern’s offense is silenced in blowout loss to Iowa


Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern

Veronica Burton drives to the basket. The sophomore guard scored 10 points on Sunday.

Charlie Goldsmith, Sports Editor

It hadn’t even been a week since Northwestern had one of the best wins program history, beating No. 12 Maryland by 23 points.

The Wildcats returned to the court Sunday, and they suffered one of their most lopsided losses of the last few years.

Five days after a statement win over the Terrapins, NU (12-2, 2-1 Big Ten) had its worst scoring game of the year in an 77-51 loss to Iowa (11-3, 2-1). The Cats didn’t have 40 points until well into the fourth quarter on Sunday and had their biggest margin of defeat since 2018.

“Their zone definitely made it tough to get inside,” Scheid said. “And then sometimes we weren’t looking to (attack) and we weren’t being aggressive enough.”

Junior guard Lindsey Pulliam finished with 25 points, but the rest of the team shot 30 percent from the field. Talented shooters like sophomore guard Veronica Burton and Scheid struggled to get open against the Hawkeyes fast-moving 2-3 zone, and NU made just four of its 21 three-point shots.

As the offense stagnated, head coach Joe McKeown made an adjustment he hadn’t tried all season. In the middle of the third quarter, he played Pulliam at power forward in an attempt to get more perimeter shooters on the floor around her. Pulliam stayed at that position until late into the fourth quarter, but it didn’t have much of an effect on the offense.

“We were really struggling to score, so we tried to stretch them out with some shooters,” McKeown said. “We thought we could really spread the floor, get into the lane and really get out and run and maybe turn them over on the defensive end, which we didn’t do when we had to.”

Even with Pulliam playing alongside three other guards, the Cats scored 20 points over the last fifteen minutes, unable to cut the deficit to single digits.

Iowa led 33-21 at halftime and never led by fewer than 15 points in the fourth quarter. The Hawkeyes took an 11-point lead in the first quarter after making four early threes, and Iowa made over 64 percent of its shots from behind the three-point line throughout the game.

Forward Monika Czinano led the Hawkeyes with 21 points, and three other players cracked double figures. The Cats’ hadn’t allowed more than 70 points Iowa all season, but the Hawkeyes perimeter shooting challenged NU’s defense all game.

The Cats fell back to earth after a strong start to Big Ten play, losing their first conference game of the season. The Cats averaged 79 points per game over the first two conference games of the season, establishing the team as a contender in the conference.

Even though NU couldn’t keep that level of production up Sunday, McKeown said he won’t linger on what went wrong offensively.

“You’ve got to let this one loose, put it behind you and move forward,” McKeown said. “I don’t want to sound like a cliche, but that’s what you have to do.”

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Twitter: @2021_Charlie