Women’s Basketball: No. 21 Cats’ defensive miscues played a big role in loss against No. 16 Indiana

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Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Senior guard Lindsey Pulliam shoots a jumper against an Indiana defender. Pulliam scored 15 points Sunday.

Skye Swann, Reporter


Women’s Basketball


Early in the fourth quarter, with Northwestern up three points, Lindsey Pulliam’s second free throw fell short. Indiana’s junior guard grabbed the rebound and found a wide open teammate, whose three point shot hit nothing but net.

Two different NU teams played in the 74-61 loss Sunday against No. 16 Indiana (9-3, 7-1 Big Ten).

“It was a tough game that I feel we controlled a lot of until the fourth quarter,” Coach Joe McKeown said.

In the first half, Pulliam would grab the ball behind the arc, dodge three defenders and make her signature jumper with ease.

The Silver Spring, Md. senior guard continued a dominant offensive performance after scoring twenty-eight points Thursday night against Illinois. Pulliam had 15 points against the Hoosiers, 13 of them coming in the first half.

Pulliam remained one of the only offensive options for No. 21 Northwestern (8-3, 6-3 Big Ten) in a highly competitive Big Ten game. Her shot fell from all areas — inside the paint, behind the arc, and on free throws. By the time the first half was over, Pulliam had 13 points, hitting on five of ten field goals and sinking a three point shot.

But Pulliam’s dominance on the offensive end of the floor couldn’t hold off the Hoosiers’ fast paced attack. The second half highlighted the weak spot in NU’s game today: Courtney Shaw’s absence.

The junior forward, perhaps Northwestern’s top defensive player, was out today’s game with lower body injury. Shaw averages 7.1 rebounds a game, and her absence leaves a huge hole in the Cats’ game. NU tried to adjust via key players Pulliam — who totaled nine rebounds — and junior guard Veronica Burton having four steals. Freshman forward Paige Mott totalled seven rebounds. But it wasn’t enough.

“Courtney has been an integral part of our success,” said McKeown. “She’s obviously our best defender so not having her today was a challenge.”

And an Indiana scoring run in the third quarter shortened NU’s lead to 54-48. That’s when the Cats started to break down — they missed shots and got sloppy on defense. The Hoosiers capitalized on those mistakes, shooting 46 percent compared to the Cats’ 33 percent shooting accuracy. Indiana sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes stole the show, scoring 22 points.

“I think we had a lot of miscues within the fourth quarter and fouls played a role,” Burton said. “They adapted well and weren’t making any mistakes.”

Indiana’s offense kicked into high gear in the fourth quarter, heating up each time they went on the offensive side of the court. The Hoosiers went on an 11-2 run to take a 59-57 lead over Northwestern with just five minutes left to play. From there it was a set game for the Hoosiers, NU went completely cold going into foul trouble with 21 personal fouls in the match.

“We need to be getting game shots. We need to be getting more reps. We need to be getting more shots tired because we’re playing a lot of minutes,” Burton said. “We have to be working to create those shots for ourselves and for each other.”

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