Rapid Recap: Northwestern 65, Minnesota 60


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern freshman guard Jillian Brown rises for a contested shot from beyond the arc. Brown tallied 11 points Thursday against Minnesota.

Skye Swann, Newsletter Editor

With its postseason career relying on a game-by-game basis, Northwestern sought redemption for its regular season conference loss to Minnesota in the second round of the 2022 Big Ten Tournament.

The Wildcats (17-11, 8-8 Big Ten) defeated Minnesota (14-17, 7-11 Big Ten) 65-60 Thursday in Indianapolis, Ind. in the Big Ten Tournament. Behind 18 points from senior guard Veronica Burton, 15 points from graduate guard Lauryn Satterwhite and 11 points from senior forward Courtney Shaw, NU’s offense powered through the Golden Gophers’ high-pressuring defense to cruise into victory.

Starting sluggish, the Cats were on the defensive side of the floor early after Minnesota seized an early three-point lead. Although they crept back into the game, every time NU attempted to gain control of the game, the Golden Gophers responded with buckets of their own to have the advantage. 

With about five minutes left in the first quarter, the Cats’ offensive momentum boosted them into the lead. Following a second-chance layup by Shaw, the squad skyrocketed into the next gear, pushing their lead at a fast pace. Alongside Shaw, Burton and freshman guard Jillian Brown were critical players in the first quarter, hitting free throws and making buckets inside the post to keep Minnesota quiet.

However, the Golden Gophers refused to be silent for long, going on a lengthy offensive run in the second quarter to regain the advantage. It appeared both teams switched positions on the court— NU going on the defensive while Minnesota took over the offense. Deep into the period, the Cats were down by seven points with minimal sights of getting back into the attacking mindset. The squad was lacking energy and made careless shots with lack of numbers on the floor.

NU played their style of play in the third quarter, executing their blizzard defense and passing the ball around the arc on the offensive end of the floor. Brown and Shaw were key standouts for the period, scoring double digits each to boost the Cats to a five-point lead.

But the Golden Gophers responded with back-to-back runs of their own and tied the game late into the third quarter. At this moment, NU had to act fast and put their food on the gas to break away from Minnesota’s grasp. Fortunately, Burton rose to the task: she made two free-throws to give the Cats a minimal lead. 

And yet, the team went back-and-forth with the Golden Gophers for the remaining minute in the quarter, exchanging buckets to grab the upper hand. However, NU’s Lauryn Satterwhite put the squad up one when the third quarter buzzer sounded. 

Diving into the last 10 minutes of regulation, NU’s offensive momentum came to a complete halt. The squad struggled to connect on the floor and each time a player shot, the ball rimmed out the bucket and went straight back to the opposite end of the floor.

In the last four minutes, the Cats were running out of time to seal this matchup, giving the Golden Gophers a plethora of second chance opportunities at the free throw line. With the clock winding down, junior guard Laya Hartman made a buzzer-beating three-point shot to give NU a two-point lead. Satterwhite followed up on this: she had a critical two-and-one play to extend the Cats’ lead to five.

From there, NU found its offensive flow and kicked into high gear to send Minnesota home. Although the Golden Gophers were not going to let the Cats get away with this game easily, forcing the squad to take free throws— a place where the squad struggled. But NU squared this game away, advancing to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.


  1. Northwestern’s opportunities in the paint boosted their offensive momentum

When the Wildcats gained the lead halfway in the first quarter, the biggest difference in their play was grabbing second chance rebounds inside the post. When NU started gaining more offensive rebounds, it extended its offensive possession and limited Minnesota’s opportunities to score on the other end of the court. With the help of Shaw and Burton, the Cats became more active inside the paint and ultimately shifted momentum of the game, taking a two-point lead to end the first quarter.

  1. Veronica Burton put it all on the floor against Minnesota

Burton was the main focus for the Cats’ second quarter comeback, hitting crucial layups towards the end of the quarter to put NU within one at halftime. The Backcourt Burglar’s mesmerizing eurostep and one play arguably put the squad back into the game. Aside from her offensive prowess, Burton was unstoppable on the defensive end of the floor. She forced Minnesota turnovers during transition and limited their shots. 

  1. The Wildcats need more consistent energy to stay strong on offense

Throughout the contest, and the season, the Cats’ streaky energy levels have impacted their offensive momentum. Especially throughout Thursday’s matchup, NU’s offensive runs were heavily influenced by their intensity on the floor. When the squad lacked energy, they made careless mistakes and poor shots, ultimately giving the ball away to the Golden Gophers without any fight. For the Cats to succeed in any future game, the squad must remain consistent on the offensive end of the floor.

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