Rapid Recap: Penn State 63, Northwestern 59


Alyce Brown/The Daily Northwestern

Laya Hartman grips the basketball. Hartman had 10 points in Northwestern’s loss to Penn State.

Kyle Leverone, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern’s undefeated streak in their white jerseys came to an end tonight in a 63-59 loss against Penn State. They are now 9-1 in white and 3-3 in the Big Ten. 

With 4:40 left in the first quarter, the white was already looking a bit dull. The Wildcats had attempted twice as many shots as Penn State but had made the same amount: three. It was 8-7 at the first media timeout in favor of the Nittany Lions. After a couple back-and-forth minutes ensued, the game –as seemingly all do –began with a Veronica Burton steal and fastbreak finish. That opened the revolving scoring door.

Revolving, that is, because of the start of the second. Both teams started off shooting a combined 3-for-18, and then Penn State rattled off a 9-0 run. One team walked in, appeared to close the door behind them, and ran up the score only to watch the other do the same. Big buckets at the end of the second period by Jillian Brown and Courtney Shaw brought the game to a halftime deadlock at 28.  

The first half seemingly set the pattern, as both teams started the third quarter with shooting 28% from the field, both teams trying to walk through the revolving door together. Side-by-side, the two teams stumbled to a one-point game at the end of the third, setting the stage for a barn-burning fourth.

The lead never made it to more than four. But ultimately with 1:39, it was almost as if the game hadn’t even begun. Tied 54-54, Penn State was the next to strike with a Leilani Kapinus and-one. The two teams traded buckets, and with nine seconds left and still down three, Burton went to the free throw line to shoot three after getting fouled on a 3-point attempt. Burton went 1-for-3, and although that would have tied the game up, Burton’s missed free throws were hardly the main cause of this loss.


  • Laya Hartman gets first start of career

Junior guard Laya Hartman got her first of her career today and made coach Joe McKeown’s decision a good one. Given the opportunity, Hartman let it fly, starting the Wildcats off with five of the team’s first seven points. With a Penn State zone that limited offensive fluency, Hartman was one of few willing to shoot it, finishing with a team-high 13 attempts and third in scoring with 10 points. 

  • Fruitful first quarter helps NU

Northwestern finished the first quarter with an 18-14 lead, and as McKeown has stated the importance of getting off to better starts, his team today had some breathing room. In its past two losses against Michigan State and Ohio State, Northwestern had started the second quarter trailing. After changing that aspect, the Wildcats had some extra energy to play with, but despite the early boost, the Cats had trouble maintaining it for the remainder of the game. 

  • Fastbreaks led the way for Northwestern offense

Playing against a lethargic full-court press and 2-3 zone, Northwestern struggled to find rhythm on offense for most of the game. However, with 10 steals and 17 fastbreak points, the Wildcats thrived tonight in transition at times where Penn State could not get set in their defense. 

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