Women’s Basketball: Northwestern takes down Minnesota 65-60 at Big Ten Tournament after late fourth quarter push


Angeli Mittal/Daily Senior Staffer

Veronica Burton floats a layup against an Iowa defender. Burton led Northwestern’s victory over Minnesota in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament and will face Iowa in the quarterfinal.

MaryKate Anderson, Reporter

Northwestern’s Thursday matchup against Minnesota was a must-win for the squad and its NCAA Tournament dreams.

“The last thing we said when we came out of the locker room was, ‘This is all about survive-and-advance,’” coach Joe McKeown said. 

And survive they did. The No. 7 seed Wildcats kicked off their Big Ten Tournament appearance with a 65-60 win over No. 10 seed Gophers in Thursday’s second round. 

NU fell 74-68 in Minneapolis on Feb. 11, one of their poorer showings of the year. But the Cats flipped the script on Thursday night, finding victory in a game that was neck-and-neck from the start.

Their triumph was headlined by senior guard Veronica Burton, who finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. But a lone noteworthy performance does not hand NU wins — Burton was supported by her teammates more than ever on Thursday night. 

Graduate guard Lauryn Satterwhite came up big for the Cats in the second half after a scoreless first, topping off her night with 15 points, seven rebounds and the game-clinching block.

With NU protecting a three-point advantage and eight seconds on the clock, Minnesota drove down the court and got the ball out to junior guard Sara Scalia in the right corner. Scalia is ordinarily the Gophers’ best shooter, but her normal finesse could not earn her the game-tying three. Satterwhite leapt up and blocked the shot, securing the Cats one final possession and ultimately sealing the victory.

“I had my eyes locked on (Scalia),” Satterwhite said. “And right when I saw her get it, I knew she was going up right away. So, I just put my hand up there and I got a piece of it.”

Senior forward Courtney Shaw closed out the game with 11 points and 11 rebounds, her eighth double-double of the year. Burton said Shaw often does the dirty work that may not get the glory, but her setup for NU’s most crucial play of the game put her tenacity on full display.

With just over three minutes left in the game, Shaw grabbed an offensive rebound and threw it back inbounds to Burton as she fell to the ground. Burton sent it out to junior guard Laya Hartman and, with less than a second on the shot clock, Hartman drained a bank three from the top of the arc and gave the Cats a two-point lead. 

But Hartman didn’t stop there. On the very next possession, she stole the ball and set up a Satterwhite layup, increasing NU’s lead to four. 

“That was huge,” Satterwhite said. “That changed the game. It gave us the momentum that we needed going into the last three minutes of the game. I’m super thankful for Laya being confident and shooting her shot.”

That jolt of energy kept the Cats alive through the end of the game. Ultimately, the victory gave NU another chance to prove that they are worthy of the NCAA tournament — and a chance to play a familiar rival.

The Cats will face No. 12 Iowa in the tournament quarterfinal 5:30 p.m. Friday. The squad is 1-1 against the Hawkeyes this year. They took them down in Iowa City in January but later fell in a bizarre overtime loss in Evanston. 

“That (loss) stung for sure,” Burton said. “But we talked about it after: if we see them again, we have to go hard and do what we can do.”

Burton, now three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, will face off against Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, 2022 Big Ten Player of the Year, in Indianapolis on Friday with NU’s future postseason hopes in the balance. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @mkeileen

Related Stories:

Rapid Recap: Northwestern 65, Minnesota 60

Women’s Basketball: Northwestern struggles to regain momentum after third quarter meltdown at Nebraska

Women’s Basketball: Northwestern falters in third quarter against Nebraska, NCAA Tournament hopes put in question