Minnesota went up 17-13 with three and a half minutes left in the first quarter, the first time in the game that either team had a two-possession lead. From there the Wildcats would go on a 9-2 run to end the quarter, capped by a steal and layup from second-year guard Hailey Weaver.
That steal was the first of six on the day for Weaver, a career-high. As a team, Northwestern forced the Gophers to commit 25 turnovers, the most a Big Ten team has made against the Wildcats all year. The Wildcats capitalized on those opportunities as well, scoring a whopping 28 points off turnovers compared to Minnesota’s five.
After some back-and-forth play, third-year forward Paige Mott dropped two straight buckets to push NU to a four-point lead and propel the ’Cats to lead at halftime, 35-33. Mott played 35 minutes in her 22nd start of the year, and scored 15 while grabbing five rebounds and three steals. Northwestern had 20 more points in the paint than the Gophers, and Mott was a key factor in that advantage.
Northwestern increased its lead in the third quarter, thanks in large part to second-year forward Caleigh Walsh. Walsh scored seven points in the third en route to a 22 point, 2 steal performance in just 26 minutes. The team leader in points had a standout day, tying her season-high of points in a conference game.
With a double-digit lead in hand, the Wildcats kept pace with Minnesota offensively in the final frame to secure a 14-point victory, their second in Big Ten play. They’ll try to make it three conference wins this Thursday at home against Wisconsin (8-19, 3-12 B1G), who they narrowly defeated in January.
This game showed how good Northwestern can be when they’re hitting on all cylinders. The offense had excellent ball movement and played to its strengths, while the defense created chaos and frustrated opposing guards. Don’t let the record fool you – this team can ball.