Women’s Basketball: Career days propel Northwestern over No. 4 Michigan


Seeger Gray/The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern celebrates at halfcourt after knocking off the No. 4 Wolverines behind a throng of career highs.

Kyle Leverone, Assistant Sports Editor

Upset. Agitated. Disquieted. Distressed. 

Whatever you choose to call it, Northwestern left the No. 4 Wolverines feeling a little extra blue after Sunday’s unanticipated double-overtime victory in Evanston. In an up and down season, it was nothing but highs Sunday, and freshman guard Jillian Brown seemed to be at the summit.

The first-year guard from Grand Rapids, Mich. infected the scoresheet and put up career highs with 18 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocked shots. In a game where Michigan’s Naz Hillmon or NU’s Veronica Burton were expected to be the focal point, Brown outscored them both.

“She’s a gym rat, and you can see her getting better and better and getting more confident,” said Coach Joe McKeown. “She battled down there. She can be a point guard, but we played her at power forward, small forward today. I’m really proud of her today.”

Burton felt lofty, too.

Despite going 2-for-13 from the field, she dished out a career high 13 assists in conjunction with 13 points and eight rebounds. Two of those 13 points came as a pair of free throws with three seconds left in the second overtime period, which won the game for the Cats.

And that wasn’t all: forward Courtney Shaw also got in on the act. 

Shaw wrangled together a career-best 16 points, all the while locking up one of the best players in the country in Hillmon, holding her to the first under-20 point game Hillmon has had in the past seven games.

Only one rebound shy of a double-double, Shaw was as crucial as any of her teammates this NU victory.

“Day in and day out, I think Courtney Shaw is one of the most overlooked players in the Big Ten,” Burton said about her fellow senior teammate. “We are not even in this game without her. The rebounding, her willingness to sacrifice her body on the defensive end on the boards. And she doesn’t really care if she scores or not.”

The game was a glorious hodgepodge of career-highs and near double-doubles (or triple-doubles in Burton’s case). And as a whole, it can be chalked up as one of the best wins this program has seen in McKeown’s time in Evanston.

This Michigan team is the same one that beat No. 15 Maryland by 20 last month, the same one that beat championship-contending Indiana by 15 two weeks ago, and the same one that spewed 98 points on No. 25 Iowa last week.

“That shows a lot about this team,” Burton said. “It took a lot of heart to beat a team like that. And to go into two overtimes, everyone’s exhausted, everyone’s right there on the brink of giving up, but we really dug in. I’ll never forget this one.”

NU went blow for blow in 50 minutes of basketball with one of the best teams in the nation. And they emerged riding high. 

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Twitter: @KLever0ne15

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