Rapid Recap: No. 16 Indiana 74, No. 21 Northwestern 61

Lindsey+Pulliam+puts+up+a+finger-roll+layup.+The+senior+guard+scored+15+points+in+Northwestern%27s+loss+to+Indiana.

Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Lindsey Pulliam puts up a finger-roll layup. The senior guard scored 15 points in Northwestern’s loss to Indiana.

Drew Schott, Web Editor


Women’s Basketball


One of the biggest games of the Big Ten season tipped off on Sunday in Evanston. No. 16 Indiana, a preseason favorite to win the conference, and No. 21 Northwestern —  last year’s co-regular season champion — faced off in a closely-fought battle at Welsh-Ryan Arena with major implications for the conference standings. 

Despite 17 points from junior guard Veronica Burton, 15 points from senior guard Lindsey Pulliam and a 13-point lead in the third quarter, the Wildcats fell to the Hoosiers 74-61. 

The loss marks NU’s first in five games. 

Burton got the scoring started with a layup just over a minute into the game. When Indiana guard Ali Patberg nailed her shot 22 seconds later, it began a back-and-forth scoring battle between two of the conference’s top eight offensive squads. 

NU and the Hoosiers were tied five times during the first quarter, with two lead changes. But every time Indiana got even, the Cats found a way to get in front. 

After the Hoosiers tied the game at 12, NU scored five straight points — including the team’s only 3-point make of the quarter from junior guard Sydney Wood — to grab the lead. This momentum propelled the Cats to a 21-16 lead after ten minutes, with Pulliam and Burton each contributing six points during the period. 

To start the second quarter, Pulliam made a jump shot to counter the Hoosiers’ quick basket. She continued her hot hand, scoring seven points — including a shot from behind the arc — to keep NU in front. Meanwhile, the Cats’ defense, ranked third in the Big Ten, stepped up by holding Indiana to a 47.1 shooting percentage from the field in the period and a three-and-a-half minute scoring drought. 

However, the Hoosiers, who have the conference’s top defensive squad, returned the favor by holding NU to six straight missed field goals as their offense went on a 6-0 run. Down 33-32, Burton and Wood nailed shots in the paint late in the quarter to give the Cats a three-point lead heading into halftime. 

Less than 30 seconds into the third quarter, senior guard Jordan Hamilton made an and-1 play to give the purple-and-white a 39-33 lead. 

The Cats’ offense soon kicked into high gear, going on a 10-0 run to take a 49-36 lead behind baskets from Burton, Hamilton, Pulliam and Wood. Meanwhile, the defense held Indiana to no field goals for more than six minutes. 

However, NU failed to garner any field goals for the final five minutes of the quarter, as the Hoosiers made three straight field goals to cut the Cats’ lead to 54-48 at the end of the third. 

Indiana continued their momentum into the fourth quarter, tying the game a little more than two minutes into the period and taking the lead after four minutes. The Hoosiers then rattled off nine straight points to put the game out of reach. 

Takeaways: 

1. Pulliam continues her shooting streak

The senior guard had her best game of the season last Thursday against Illinois, scoring 28 points, including 19 in the third quarter. Today, in one of the Cats’ most difficult games of the season, Pulliam continued her success from the floor, as she finished with 15 points. Her signature jump shot was on display, as well as her ability to find shots in the paint and from behind the arc. Going forward into a tough conference slate, strong performances from Pulliam — one of the best shooters in the conference — are invaluable for the team. Additionally, combining good games from Pulliam with those of Burton and Wood, who scored 17 and 12 points, respectively, create a dynamic offense that can be hard to slow down. Unfortunately today, it was not enough for a win. 

2. Morris and Mott attempt to replicate Courtney Shaw’s production

Minutes before tip-off, junior forward Courtney Shaw was ruled out of today’s game with a lower body injury. Shaw is NU’s leading rebounder this season, so McKeown looked to freshman forwards Anna Morris and Paige Mott to contribute at center. Mott got the start and finished the game with 23 minutes, while Morris came off the bench to contribute 14 minutes. Mott found more success in the paint than Morris, grabbing seven rebounds to Morris’ zero. Both Mott and Morris found the basket and each finished the game with two points, but shot 20 percent or lower from the field. Even though Shaw will return to the starting lineup after she recovers from her injury, Mott and Morris showed potential in one of the Cats’ hardest games of the season. 

3. Northwestern falls to another top Big Ten team 

Three weeks ago, the then-No. 15 Cats lost by 21 points to then-No. 16 Michigan, raising questions about whether NU could be in the hunt for a second-straight conference title. Heading into today’s game against one of the preseason favorites to win the Big Ten, NU rattled off four-straight conference wins. NU showed at various times today it could hang with the Hoosiers, like a 10-0 scoring run and a defensive effort that held Indiana scoreless for more than three minutes. However, they were unable to stop Indiana from scoring late in the game. With three Big Ten losses, upcoming games against No. 17 Ohio State and No. 7 Maryland will give the purple-and-white more chances to prove they can contend with the Big Ten’s top echelon. But, with some tough unranked teams remaining on the schedule, every game counts for the purple-and-white. 

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