Rapid Recap: Northwestern 72, UIC 49


Gabe Bider/Daily Senior Staffer

Teammates mob senior guard Veronica Burton after her halfcourt shot swished to beat the first half buzzer. Burton led all scorers with 22 points in a Wildcat win.

Skye Swann, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern defeated UIC 72-49 Wednesday’s season opener in Evanston.

At Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern (1-0) squared off against UIC (0-1) to start off the 2021-22 season. Coming off a victory over UW- Parkside Sunday, the Wildcats added another win to their record. After this defeat, NU kicked off the year with a 2-0 record prior to meeting any Big Ten competitors.

Behind 22 points from senior guard Veronica Burton and 11 points from senior forward Courtney Shaw, the Cats cruised past the Flames Wednesday night. Freshmen guards Jillian Brown and Melannie Daley combined for a total of 11 points in the contest. The two freshmen have stepped up big on the court, fitting right into the program’s offense.

NU started the matchup on the rocks, struggling to make baskets and turning the ball over. At the end of the first quarter, the Cats got into their rhythm, making shots beyond the arc and maintaining possession of the ball. Burton led scoring for the squad the entire matchup, earning 13 points in the half.

The Cats’ defensive stance was, arguably, strong since tipoff: Burton and Shaw were the two powerhouses in the backcourt, blocking shots and rebounding misses. Although UIC matched NU’s offensive production in the first half, NU breezed past the Flames in the second half, extending the lead by 16 points at halftime.

Burton closed out the first half with a halfcourt shot buzzer beater, sending NU’s fans out of their seats with elation.

From there the Cats’ controlled the game, keeping possession on their offensive end of the court.

At the start of the third quarter, NU opened the half quickly, extending their lead despite UIC’s attempt to get back within a 10 point margin. Burton posted four more points in the period meanwhile Brown secured five.

The Cats concluded the third quarter with a 30-point lead, suggesting signs of another NU win. With only two minutes remaining, the Cats reached near the 70 point marker, similar to Sunday’s win. Freshman forward Mercy Ademusayo and junior guard Laya Hartman entered the matchup late to make their presence known on the court.

NU will faceoff on Sunday Nov. 14 against UC-Santa Barbara at Welsh-Ryan Arena.


1. The Wildcats need to find multiple contributors to replace Lindsey Pulliam’s offensive production
Although Veronica Burton finished the night in double digits, NU needed to find more offensive threats on the floor to make up for the loss of Lindsey Pulliam, who was in attendance as a fan. Despite the win Wednesday over UIC, the Cats scoring less than 80 points in a game will leave the group struggling against top Big Ten competitors like Michigan, Maryland and Iowa this season.

2. Courtney Shaw’s strong rebounding game
Outside of the senior forward’s 11 points on Wednesday, her defensive dominance was evident the entire game. She earned 12 rebounds in the contest, leading the team and highlighting her role as NU’s top defender. Following up on her strong junior year performance, Shaw’s solid performance inside the paint gives the Cats a promising future in upcoming games.

3. Northwestern must figure out their 3-point game before Big Ten competition
The Cats showed one thing in the UIC battle: their inside the paint shooting is highly effective. However, NU’s three-point shots were subpar and needed work prior to their Big Ten faceoffs. With this only being the season opener, the Cats still have plenty of time to work out the kinks before diving deep into the 2021-22 campaign. But, if NU wants to make it far in the Big Ten, and possibly make a consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, it must work on successfully making beyond the arc shots.

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