Women’s Basketball: Lindsey Pulliam secures the 63-60 win for the Cats against Michigan State


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Jordan Hamilton dribbles the ball through half court on an offensive drive against Michigan on Jan. 3. Against Michigan State on Sunday, she chipped in with eight points and three rebounds in a winning effort.

Skye Swann, Reporter

Women’s Basketball

Northwestern continued conference play Sunday against Michigan State. The No. 22 Cats showed up big offensively in the first half to seal a close 63-60 win over the Spartans.

The Wildcats (11-3, 9-3 Big Ten) made a statement at the outset; their shooting stood out as a consistent threat the Spartans couldn’t defend. With six minutes remaining in the first quarter, senior guard Lindsey Pulliam got the open look behind the arc and hit on a smooth three pointer right into the net.

The guard from Silver Spring, Md. came out on fire in the first quarter against MSU. Pulliam opened the scoring for the Cats with eight points and went 2-for-2 behind the arc in the first quarter.

“You know that’s what you want from your senior All American and that’s what she delivered,” coach Joe McKeown said.

The Spartans (10-5, 5-5 Big Ten) struggled to keep up with the Cats, who already had a twelve point lead after the first ten minutes of play. Junior guard Veronica Burton was a force to be reckoned with on the offensive end of the floor.

Burton and Pulliam combined for 15 of the 19 points NU scored in the quarter. And the team kept up the offensive pressure throughout the second quarter of play. Even though the Spartans made layups from time to time, NU held a comfortable lead from the start of the game.

NU exploited Michigan State’s offense fast break transition the first half. Defensively, NU forced 12 turnovers from the Spartans and gathered 20 rebounds.

Senior guard Jordan Hamilton was a key component to the Wildcats’ offense. She was the third leading scorer for NU with eight points. The three offensive powerhouses established a comfortable 19 point lead at the end of the second quarter.

The second half saw a different Spartan exit the locker room, one that came ready to play.

Michigan State entered the second half with adjustments against NU to give them an eight point scoring run. Although the momentum shifted towards the Spartans, the Cats still kept up the offensive pressure with a critical free throw and jumper by junior guard Sydney Wood.

“I felt like we gave a little momentum back to Michigan State,” McKeown said.

Michigan State sophomore guard Julia Ayrault was called for a technical foul with under five minutes late in the third giving some offensive chances to NU. From there, the Cats capitalized on more offensive points from a string of fouls made by the Spartans.

The third quarter was transformed into a game of free throws as both teams committed fouls against each other which ended with some injuries as Hamilton left the court limping on her ankle.

After Michigan State closed the lead to nine points, NU had to come firing on all ends of the floor to close out the game. With the fourth quarter underway, Pulliam remained the lead scoring option for the Wildcats.

Until she went out with an ankle injury with seven minutes left to play.

With NU’s leading scorer sidelined, and only a three point lead in the final minutes, the Cats needed to score and score fast. But they couldn’t connect offensively, allowing junior guard Janai Crooms to put the Spartans in the lead.

Pulliam came back into the game, making her presence known with her signature jumper putting the Wildcats back in the lead. Her 22 point game secured NU’s tight win on the road.

“She made a huge bucket when we were struggling to score,” McKeown said. “She hit a really big three in the corner and at the end of the game — we really needed it.”

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