Women’s Basketball: No. 14 Northwestern looks for eighth-straight win against Ohio State


Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern

Lindsey Pulliam dribbles the ball. The junior guard was named Big Ten player of the week.

Drew Schott, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

With the Big Ten Tournament approaching, No. 14 Northwestern is playing like one of the best teams in the country.

The Wildcats are on a seven-game win streak and received their highest ranking in the AP Top 25 since 2015.

Over the past month, NU’s offense has flourished, averaging 77 points per game while outscoring conference opponents by a combined 104 points. In 280 minutes, the Cats’ defense — ranked second-best in the Big Ten — has only given up 62 points per game and has held six straight Big Ten foes to under 70 points.

NU’s star players have been stellar as well. Senior forward Abi Scheid is the nation’s best 3-point shooter, averaging 48 percent from behind the arc. A leader of the Cats’ defense, sophomore guard Veronica Burton has the ninth-most steals in the country.

But most importantly, NU has Lindsey Pulliam.

The junior guard was recognized Monday as one of the top players in all of college basketball when ESPN named her the national Player of the Week. Pulliam was given the honor after averaging 27.5 points, six and a half rebounds and five assists in wins against Rutgers and Wisconsin.

“Everybody knows who Lindsey is,” coach Joe McKeown said. “And everybody’s trying to stop Lindsey. She (says) ‘give me the ball and get out of the way.’”

Pulliam — who was also named the Big Ten Player of the Week — will look to continue her outstanding play as the Cats (24-3, 14-2 Big Ten) participate in their final road game of the regular season Tuesday night against Ohio State (17-10, 10-6).

The last opponent of a two-game road trip for NU, the Buckeyes are coming off their first loss after a six-game win streak. Currently ranked fifth in the Big Ten, Ohio State will be a formidable challenge for NU’s defense, as the Buckeyes have the fourth-best offense in the conference and score nearly 72 points per game.

At the Value City Arena, Scheid or senior center Abbie Wolf will have the tall task of shutting down Ohio State forward Dorka Juhász. The Hungarian native is the Buckeyes’ leading scorer and the Big Ten’s second-best rebounder.

With only two games remaining in the regular season, each win is crucial for the Cats’ seeding in the Big Ten Tournament. NU is currently tied for first-place in the conference with No. 7 Maryland, which also has two games left this season.

Two conference wins would certainly help the Cats’ NCAA Tournament resume. According to ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme’s latest prediction, NU is a No. 3 seed, which would give the team home-court advantage at Welsh-Ryan Arena during the opening two rounds of the Big Dance.

If the Cats are victorious in Columbus, the team will have its first eight-game win streak since the 2014-15 season, the last time NU made the NCAA Tournament.

Pulliam said making the Big Dance has been a driving force for the team throughout the season.

“It just narrows our focus,” Pulliam said. “It just gives us a goal to look forward to and we know what it’s going to take to get there.”

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