Women’s Basketball: Junior guard Sydney Wood continues career year in win over Wisconsin


Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern

Sydney Wood goes up for a layup. The junior guard scored 14 points in No. 22 Northwestern’s 80-55 win over Wisconsin.

Drew Schott, Web Editor

Women’s Basketball

With milliseconds to spare, Sydney Wood beat the buzzer.

Standing at the right corner of the hardwood, the junior guard fired a shot to try to give No. 22 Northwestern a 10-point lead over Wisconsin. As the shot clock blared, the leather swished through the net.

A minute-and-a-half later, Wood jumped up to deflect a pass from Badgers’ guard Brooke Schramek, stole the ball and raced down the court for an easy layup to make the score 35-21.

This play from Wood epitomized coach Joe McKeown’s words during a preseason media availability.

“(Wood) can play four positions,” McKeown said. “We’ll see a lot of (her).”

After scoring a career-high 19 points against Michigan, Wood racked up 14 points, six rebounds and four assists to help the Wildcats defeat the Badgers 80-55 in Madison. On an afternoon that saw the Cats bounce back from two straight losses for the first time since 2018, Wood continued to showcase why she is one of NU’s most improved players.

“She’s expanded her game,” McKeown said. “She’s a great transition passer and finisher. I think (she has) one of the highest basketball IQs in the Big Ten.”

On a squad that boasts two of the best scorers in the Big Ten with senior guard Lindsey Pulliam and junior guard Veronica Burton — who scored 14 and 15 points, respectively — Wood is becoming an dangerous offensive threat.

After averaging 3.0 and 5.1 points in her first two seasons, the Maryland native is breaking out. She is averaging a career-high 14.6 points per game and shooting 52 percent — a career-best — from the field.

Defensively, Wood has become a key cog on the Big Ten’s fourth-best unit. She grabbed six rebounds against Wisconsin, the second-most on the team, and a team-high of four steals.

Wood had a quiet first quarter at the Kohl Center, scoring two layups, dishing two assists and snagging one rebound.

Her second quarter was anything but that.

She shot a perfect three-for-three from the field to score seven points and nailed her first 3-point shot of the season to help spark a 32-12 run over 10 minutes for the Cats.

On the other side of the ball, she added two rebounds and a block.

“(It’s) uncanny how she can get in space in between people,” McKeown said.

In the second half, Wood made her presence known on the defensive side. She grabbed three rebounds, snagged a steal and blocked two shots as NU glided to its third-straight victory against the Badgers and second-consecutive win in Madison.

Over their next five games, the Cats will face three squads near the bottom of the Big Ten: Rutgers, Penn State and Illinois. Northwestern will also face Iowa twice, a team that averages 92.1 points per game with their own rising star, freshman guard Caitlin Clark.

For NU to win, strong offensive play will be key, as the team gives up 60.2 points per game, the fourth-ranked margin in the conference. As a result, scoring streaks from Wood and her teammates — three of whom scored in double-figures — may define the Cats’ ability to compete down the stretch in the Big Ten

“When we have four of our starters score in double-digits, it shows that we have balanced scoring,” said junior forward Courtney Shaw, who scored a career-high 15 points. “That’s really important for our team, so one person doesn’t have to carry the offensive load and I think that’s really important to our success as a team overall.”

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