The No. 14 Northwestern women’s basketball team (26-3, 16-2 B1G) reached the top of the Big Ten for the first time in 30 years last Saturday, clinching a share of the regular season title after an exciting blowout win against Illinois, 75-58.
The seniors played their best for the Senior Day game, with Abbie Wolf leading the team with 21 points and nine rebounds and Abi Scheid having 10 points and seven assists (tied for her most assists ever in a game with Northwestern). Scheid shoots with a whopping 48.6 three-point percentage, and she gave the ’Cats a quick lead with her signature shot just two minutes into the game. The Fighting Illini never led the Wildcats, and at one point in the fourth quarter the Wildcats led by as much as 27 points.
Each team member lived up to her specialty. Burton had five steals and excelled in fast breaks, contributing to the team’s nine points off fast breaks while gaining free throw shots from fouls. Pulliam scored 17 points, followed Burton with three steals and kept Illinois away from rebounds. The Wildcats were perfectly synchronized on both offense and defense, shuffling the ball between each other and not allowing the Fighting Illini to even be able to defend their shots. The Saturday game brought out the best of the ’Cats, and they broke records to prove it.
This year’s season has beaten Northwestern’s past record of 25 wins in a season from the 1978-79 season. With a 16-2 record in the Big Ten, the ’Cats tie Maryland for first place in the league. Northwestern last made the NCAA Tournament in the 2014-15 season, but are now almost certain to make it again this year.
On a nine-game winning streak, the ’Cats next challenge is the Big Ten Tournament, starting this Wednesday and ending Sunday with the championship.