Women’s Basketball: Veronica Burton’s dominant effort on both ends of the floor powers Northwestern’s win over Penn State


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Veronica Burton steps into a three-pointer. Against Penn State Sunday, Burton paced her team with 19 points and four assists.

Skye Swann, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

When the rest of Northwestern’s scorers struggle, Veronica Burton almost always picks up the slack. She can score from anywhere on the court — in transitions and on three-pointers from behind the arc. Against Penn State Sunday, the junior guard sent a message to opposing teams. She can’t and won’t be stopped.

On the court for the first time since their game against Rutgers was postponed, the Wildcats showed resilience, hustle, and effort in a stellar performance against a quick Penn State team. It was all sparked by Burton.

The Nittany Lions’s defense Sunday made NU’s offense pay for its inefficiency, causing a season high of 22 turnovers. The Cats entered the game with the third lowest turnover rate in the Big Ten.

“We turned the ball over way too much to be considered a great team,” coach Joe McKeown said of the team’s performance.

But the Cats dominated the game with a steady 14 point lead that they built up in the first half, thanks in part to Burton’s dominant performance.

The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year breezed past the Nittany Lions, scoring 19 points along with four assists to lead No. 22 Northwestern (7-2, 5-2 Big Ten) to a comfortable 67-50 win over Penn State ( 4-6, 1-5 Big Ten).

But NU struggled at tipoff, shooting just 5-for-12 in the first quarter. Burton stood as the only offensive option for the Cats, scoring two of the three shots the Wildcats made behind the arc.

She turned the game around with a fast transition three point play putting Northwestern ahead at the end of the first quarter. From there, NU fell back into its game: quick transitions, fast ball movement, and ruthless defense.

“She does whatever you need your team to do to win,” McKeown said. “She scored. She played great defense. She broke their press.”

Burton played a crucial role on defense too. She had five steals pacing the Cats as they pushed the Nittany Lions towards a whopping 27 turnovers.

Her teammates came through in the clutch as well. Junior forward Courtney Shaw set a career high 12 rebounds in today’s matchup. Senior guard Lindsey Pulliam had 17 points, showing last week’s 6 point scoring performance against Iowa was a fluke.

With another Big Ten win under their belt, Northwestern remains a force to be reckoned with. The Cats will head home for conference play against Illinois this Thursday and next Sunday against Indiana.

“We had a really big second quarter defensively when we held (Penn State) to 8 points,” McKeown said. “We’re just getting into the heart of the Big Ten so every game is going to be a dogfight.”

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