Women’s Basketball: Northwestern’s backcourt leaves mark at No. 5 Indiana despite falling behind in fourth quarter

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Angeli Mittal/The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern’s Jillian Brown attempts a shot while cornered by two Iowa defenders. Brown scored 14 points in the Wildcat’s loss to No. 5 Indiana after posting career numbers against No. 4 Michigan earlier this week.

MaryKate Anderson, Reporter

Northwestern’s robust backcourt, headlined by Lauryn Satterwhite, Jillian Brown and Veronica Burton, was the bright spot in the squad’s loss to No. 5 Indiana on Thursday. 

Despite impressive performances from all three, the Wildcats (14-10, 6-7 Big Ten) ultimately fell 69-58 to the No. 5 Hoosiers (19-4, 11-2 Big Ten) in Bloomington, Ind.. NU was able to keep within striking distance for the vast majority of the game, but Indiana pulled away in the fourth quarter and the Cats struggled to fight their way back. 

Albeit relatively overlooked among the likes of senior guard Burton and other starters, graduate guard Satterwhite made her presence known behind the arc on Thursday. 

Satterwhite went 4-for-7 from three after a rocky first quarter, ultimately notching an impressive 14 points on the game. She averages just 5.8 points per game on the season. 

“She’s a fifth-year senior, so she wants to do this the right way,” coach Joe McKeown said. “Try to go out with a bang.”

McKeown said freshman guard Brown is also beginning to figure out how to navigate the Big Ten — something that has become easier as she gains more experience playing tough conference games. 

Earlier this week, Brown posted career-high numbers across the board in the Cats’ victory over then-No. 4 Michigan. While some may have expected a less remarkable showing after such a dominant performance, Brown is not one to fall from grace.

“She’s playing with a lot of confidence right now,” McKeown said. “The Michigan game really, really sparked her.”

The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week — the first from NU to hold the title since Lindsay Pulliam in 2018 — tallied 14 points and four rebounds. As her first shot fell just 30 seconds into the game, it was clear Brown’s prowess would be on display against yet another top-five opponent.

While her teammates’ importance cannot be understanded, no NU showing is complete without a highlight reel-worthy performance from Burton, the team’s leading scorer and most consistent player. 

Burton’s defensive excellence was in full swing Thursday. The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year secured four steals to accompany her 20 points, five rebounds and four assists, though not enough to take down Indiana’s Nicole Cardaño-Hillary and company. 

Cardaño-Hillary’s explosive second half paved the way for the Hoosiers’ fourth quarter surge, something not even Burton could stop.

While beating another top-five team would have significantly helped the Cats’ postseason hopes, McKeown said their previous high-profile wins — in addition to a hopefully strong showing at the Big Ten Tournament — could still make the team’s case.

“We have wins over probably four or five teams that are going to be in the (NCAA) tournament,” McKeown said. “Our goal is to go to the NCAA tournament.”

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Twitter: @mkeileen

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