Women’s Basketball: Northwestern’s two-game win streak ends with setback to Minnesota


Seeger Gray/The Daily Northwestern

Senior guard Veronica Burton takes a free throw shot. Burton led Northwestern in scoring with 27 points against Minnesota.

Skye Swann, Newsletter Editor

After a week hiatus from their two-game road trip, Northwestern headed to Minneapolis on Friday to take on Minnesota for the first time this season. 

Despite the hard-fought effort, the Wildcats (14-9, 6-6) fell short Friday against the Golden Gophers (12-14, 4-9 Big Ten), losing 74-68 and ending their two-game win streak. Senior guard Veronica Burton led the team with 27 points while freshman guard Jillian Brown tallied 12 points and senior forward Courtney Shaw recorded nine rebounds.

“We stopped taking care of the ball,” coach Joe McKeown said. “Minnesota defended us pretty well and gave us a challenge.”

NU struggled to connect offensively in the first quarter, allowing Minnesota to grab an early advantage on the scoreboard. Despite the five-day break since playing Penn State, the Cats appeared timid on offense, not working collectively inside the paint and taking long-range shots beyond the arc. 

The squad found its rhythm toward the latter half of the first quarter, converting quickly in transition plays and using pick-and-roll plays to score layups on the offensive end of the court. Despite trailing, NU crept back into the game and mounted a comeback in the next 10 minutes of regulation. 

Defensively, the Cats were playing timidly in the first quarter, letting Minnesota take up space inside the paint and work the ball around the three-point line. NU’s famous “Blizzard” defense was not holding strong against the Golden Gophers and the squad was getting out-rebounded on second chance scoring opportunities. 

Halfway through the second quarter, the Cats were down by 10 points. Each time the team scored, Minnesota responded with a bucket of their own. But Burton and Shaw persevered, fighting their way inside the paint for layups and drawing fouls on the Golden Gophers’ defense. 

“We were having a solid offensive game, but we just laid an egg in the game,” McKeown said.

At the start of the third quarter, NU fought its way back within a single-digit deficit highlighting a sense of a comeback. But the Cats suffered a scoring-drought, allowing Minnesota to go on a nine-point offensive run and not turn back. 

NU attempted to get back into the game, but the squad was lacking a strong defensive stance and unless they made adjustments on the court. The Golden Gophers kept up their offensive pursuit, hitting three-point shots and pull-up jumpers to extend their lead. The Cats were losing momentum fast and it appeared that there was no way to get back in this game as the third quarter closed. 

The last 10 minutes of regulation were more of the same, highlighting NU’s struggle on offense and lack of pressure on defense. Although the Cats got back to a six-point deficit, the team started getting into an offensive groove too late into the fourth quarter. Burton got the last jumper of the match before the game buzzer sounded signaling the end of regulation.

“This is a game we just move on from,” McKeown said. “We didn’t look at the film. We showed pride. We just moved forward and got ready for Michigan.”

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