Women’s Basketball: No. 15 Northwestern stays undefeated with win over Eastern Kentucky


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Sydney Wood takes the ball up the court. The junior guard scored 13 points in Northwestern’s win over Eastern Kentucky.

Drew Schott, Assistant Sports Editor

Women’s Basketball

Halfway through the second quarter, a media timeout gave No. 15 Northwestern a chance to regroup.

Coach Joe McKeown needed to talk about a problem plaguing the team. Even though the Wildcats were leading Eastern Kentucky by 15 points, they were struggling to score points at the end of the matchup.

In three minutes and five seconds, NU made only one field goal on 14 attempts and missed eight straight shots. Eastern Kentucky, meanwhile, had scored six points. During the break, McKeown reassured his team that their shots would eventually fall.

“We just said keep fighting, keep shooting,” McKeown said. “I knew those things would start to even themselves out.”

And they did.

The Cats (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten) scored 12 points to end the first half and added 32 in the final 20 minutes to cruise to a 79-50 victory over the Colonels (3-3, 2-0 OVC).

From start to finish, NU’s defense dominated Eastern Kentucky. The Cats forced 33 turnovers — which they turned into 40 points — and held the Colonels to a 38.5 shooting percentage from the field.

On the offensive end, junior guard Veronica Burton led NU in scoring for the fourth-straight game with 17 points. Senior guard Lindsey Pulliam and junior guard Sydney Wood added 15 and 13 points, respectively. The Cats also grabbed a season-high 26 offensive rebounds.

“We have to be able to press and control the clock and turn people over,” McKeown said. “We have the quickness to do that. Another thing that I think you have to have in that is people with great basketball IQ’s.”

NU opened Tuesday’s game at Welsh-Ryan Arena with a 5-0 run and raced out to a 26-14 lead at the end of the first quarter behind 9 points from Pulliam and an 8-0 run in the frame’s final two minutes.

After Pulliam made a jump shot to open the scoring in the second quarter, Burton nailed a 3-point shot 14 seconds later to give the Cats a 31-14 lead. It would mark only one of NU’s three triples on the day.

The Cats struggled from behind the arc, missing 17 shots. Even though Burton made two triples, she missed another four. Pulliam and redshirt junior guard Lauryn Satterwhite also went a combined 0-9 on 3-point attempts.

“Sometimes we’re kicking it out and maybe we’re shooting a little quick,” McKeown said. “We’ll get better. I have a lot of confidence in our 3-ball.”

Despite the setback from long-range, Wood — who scored seven points in the second — guided NU on a 21-6 run over ten minutes, while the Cats’ defense forced 12 turnovers and allowed only six points.

Up 27 out of the break, McKeown gave reserve players such as Satterwhite and sophomore guard Kaylah Rainey some minutes as NU breezed to its 29-point victory.

The Cats’ 13-year head coach said he’s glad his players can head home for Christmas before returning to face Nebraska on New Year’s Eve.

“It’s a well-earned break,” McKeown said. “They deserve it.”

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