Women’s Basketball: No. 22 Northwestern falls victim to No. 20 Maryland’s high press in loss

Veronica+Burton+looks+to+make+a+pass.+The+sophomore+guard+finished+with+14+points+in+NU%E2%80%99s+loss+to+Maryland.+

Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Veronica Burton looks to make a pass. The sophomore guard finished with 14 points in NU’s loss to Maryland.

Greg Svirnovskiy, Reporter

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Northwestern entered Sunday’s matchup against No. 20 Maryland on a five-game win streak. During that stretch, the Wildcats had outscored their opponents by a combined 63 points, putting buckets together with ease and fluidity.

Their trip to College Park featured anything but. NU’s (17-3, 7-2 Big Ten) uneven offense scored in infrequent bursts and the Cats fell victim to Maryland’s high press, losing 70-61 to the Terrapins (16-4, 7-2). NU scored just 11 points in the first quarter and 10 in the third.

Sophomore guard Veronica Burton helped make the game close. She kept her team in the game during a calamitous start to the first quarter — which saw the Cats out-rebounded 8-2 — by hitting back-to-back baskets to slow down the surging Terrapins. Still, NU entered the second quarter down by six.

“I just try to do what a point guard does,” Burton said. “I try and take care of the ball and just help out in every way that I can. I trust my teammates, I know they’re gonna be where they need to be.”

She finished the night with 14 points and five rebounds while dishing out four assists.

The Cats dominated the second frame by slowing it down. Led by junior guard Lindsey Pulliam, who grew up around ten miles away in Silver Spring, Md., the Cats outscored Maryland 19-10 in the second quarter. NU’s slow and methodical offense took advantage of the other side’s rapid-fire offensive breakdowns and missed shots to lead by three at the end of the first half.

The shots stopped falling in the second half of the third quarter, as Maryland went on a 12-0 run to take an eight-point lead. With the exception of a free throw by Pulliam, the Cats didn’t make a single basket in the quarter’s last five minutes, missing six straight shots.

“We just can’t let our offense dictate our defense,” Burton said. “Obviously we struggled at times on the offensive end but at the end of the day, we can’t let them do what they did to us on the defensive end. Our defense is way better than we showed at times tonight I just think we need to take pride in it.”

Their struggles continued in the fourth, as NU missed another nine shots and allowed 13 Terrapin rebounds. They fouled nine times, surrendering nine points to Maryland from the free-throw line.

Coach Joe McKeown said his team needed to do a better job on the glass to have a shot at the game. NU was out-rebounded 45-29 by Maryland. Its struggles on the offensive glass were even worse, an eye-popping 18-5 deficit.

The Terrapins turned those extra rebounds into points, besting the Cats in second-chance points 29-3.

“They kind of upped their pressure,” McKeown said. “We just didn’t do a very good job rebounding the basketball. We had plenty of chances but you gotta give them credit. They made some tough shots and really got on the offensive glass.”

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