Rapid Recap: Northwestern 82, Illinois 59


Alyce Brown/The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern’s Courtny Shaw puts up a shot against Penn State earlier this season. Shaw put up an impressive performance at Illinois on Sunday, going 10-for-11 from the field for 20 points — the most points from either team — in addition to 10 rebounds.

MaryKate Anderson, Reporter

With just three contests left before the Big Ten Tournament, Northwestern traveled to Champaign, Ill. on Sunday afternoon to take on in-state rival Illinois.

The Wildcats (15-10, 7-7 Big Ten) capitalized on their momentum which has been building all month, and ultimately took down the Illini (6-17, 1-11) 82-59. The squad’s Blizzard defense was on full display throughout the game, but senior forward Courtney Shaw and senior guard Veronica Burton both provided impressive individual performances. 

After missed shots from both sides, Illinois eventually scored the first points of the game with a layup, but Shaw was quick to answer with her own on the other end. Despite several sloppy passes resulting in lost possessions, NU continued to find success in the paint through the first quarter. 

But Illinois’s Aaliyah Nye developed her own momentum, draining two threes before the under-4 to keep the Illini even with the Cats. Freshman forward Caileigh Walsh came off the bench soon after and notched five quick points, pulling NU ahead to a 16-12 advantage by the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was a near carbon copy of the first. A steal from senior guard Veronica Burton turned into a quick Shaw layup. Nye continued to drop threes for Illinois. The Cats’ junior guard Laya Hartman and sophomore forward Paige Mott found their first buckets of the game. But NU’s lead grew to be as large as 11.

Shaw continued to be the point person for the Cats near the post into the second quarter. She turned offensive rebounds into second-chance points, found lanes to the basket, and entered halftime with incredible numbers — Shaw went 7-for-8 from the field for 14 points and nabbed six rebounds. NU entered halftime up 38-27.

The second half kicked off with a clean three-pointer from graduate guard Lauryn Satterwhite and a shot behind-the-back from Hartman. The Cats’ lead grew to 16 in just under two minutes and Illinois was forced to take an early timeout. 

Through the rest of the third quarter, NU’s chaotic defense continued to overwhelm Illinois and the advantage stayed with the Cats. Burton was given some unusual rest on the bench after grabbing her sixth steal, and they entered the final period with a score of 56-41.

The fourth quarter presented a quintessential NU possession: Shaw came down with a contested rebound and sent the ball to Burton, who ultimately passed it to freshman guard Jillian Brown as she nailed a three-pointer. Burton finished off the game nearly reaching her first triple-double of the season: 13 points, 14 assists and nine steals. Behind Burton and company, the Cats took home the win by a score of 82-59 for their best offensive performance of the season.


  • The Cats’ ballhandling was sloppy early, but the Illini’s was worse

Northwestern lost several promising scoring opportunities early in the game with poor passes or blocked shots, turning the ball over five times in the first quarter. But the Wildcats forced nine turnovers from their opponent in the same time period and capitalized quickly. Burton averages 4.0 steals per game this season, and she matched that number in the first half alone. The Naismith Trophy contender finished the game with a career-high with nine steals. 

  • Shaw was the star of the show

Burton has referred to Shaw as one of the most overlooked players in the Big Ten, but no one could help but notice Shaw on Sunday. She averages 9.9 rebounds per game, third in the conference, because of her commanding presence in the post. Sunday’s game was no different. While she did nab an always impressive 10 boards, Shaw’s performance in the paint was near-flawless. She knocked down 10 of her 11 shots from the field and totaled a career-high 20 points. 

  • Lauryn Satterwhite: the Wildcats’ dark horse

Lauryn Satterwhite, whose performance has exploded as of late, continued to post impressive numbers on Sunday. The graduate guard broke her career-high steals record of three by halftime. Her improved scoring persisted against Illinois, as she drained multiple threes and notched a near-career-high 14 points in addition to her four steals. 

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Twitter: @mkeileen

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