As the saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
In yet another display of dominance, the 18th-ranked Northwestern women’s basketball team (24-3, 14-2 B1G) soundly defeated Wisconsin (11-17, 3-14 B1G) 82-66 on Saturday. The ’Cats were led in the victory by the impressive performance of junior Lindsey Pulliam, who went 13-for-20 from the floor for 28 points, while also dishing five assists and grabbing five rebounds.
“I think for us to be a great team, [Pulliam] has to score for us. People think that’s selfish, but it’s really being unselfish,” head coach Joe McKeown said after the game. “For her to get 28, or 32 against Michigan, that’s really being unselfish because we really need every one of those points.”
The ’Cats also saw three other players turn in fantastic score sheets in the team victory. Sophomore Veronica Burton continued her recent stretch of notable games with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, while sophomore Sydney Wood also made her presence known across the floor with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Senior Abi Scheid continued her three-point dominance in going 3-for-6 beyond the arc for 13 points total, while also grabbing 9 rebounds.
The Badgers were led in their effort by senior Abby Laszewski and sophomore Imani Lewis. Playing in her last game at the Kohl Center, Laszewski scored 14 points and swatted three blocks, while Lewis notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The name of the game this time was perseverance. After drawing even at 16 in the first quarter, the ’Cats began to chip away at Wisconsin’s defense, pulling ahead by three after the second and seven after the third. Northwestern finally found a groove in the fourth, going off for 16 straight points to put the Badgers away.
“We knew Wisconsin has been hanging with people through two quarters, three quarters, ... but we knew that we had to come in in the third, fourth quarter and lock down on defense and blow it out there,” Pulliam said after the game.
“I think we share the ball better than anybody and we know what everybody likes to do on the floor," she added, "so I think it’s kind of easy for us to do what we want to do and play how we want to.”
In the victory, the ’Cats pulled into a deadlock for first place in the Big Ten with seventh-ranked Maryland. With two games left to play, the ’Cats will face another challenge on Tuesday, when they’ll travel to Columbus to play Ohio State, before returning home for their Senior Day game against Illinois next Saturday. With sights set on March and the possibility of postseason basketball coming to Evanston, there’s no better time to come support the team.
And before you ask, yes, game-day shuttles will be running on Saturday.
Stats provided by ESPN