Lindsey Pulliam scored 19 points as the Wildcats sprinted past the Nittany Lions on Sunday. Photo by Maren Kranking / North By Northwestern

The Northwestern women’s basketball team took a page out of Bill Murray’s book on Sunday and celebrated Groundhog Day with a deja-vu performance against Penn State, defeating the Lady Lions 82-59.

The ’Cats, currently ranked 23rd in the nation, opened the game with a shaky start, matching Penn State shot for shot and losing by as much as six in the first half, before closing the second quarter losing 38-37. Undeterred, the ’Cats then proceeded to dominate the third quarter 29-7 en route to the 23-point victory.

“We expected a dog fight coming into Penn State. They’ve been playing well, just having gotten over the hump, so the halftime score didn’t surprise me at all,” Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown said after the game. “I thought we came out and had a great third quarter, and just did the things to get the game open.”

Northwestern was lead by junior Lindsey Pulliam and sophomore Veronica Burton, who both had 19 points each in the victory. Senior Abi Scheid was the sharpshooter in the victory, going 5-for-6 in the field and 3-for-3 from three-point range for a total of 13 points. Penn State was paced by junior Kamaria McDaniel, who had 16 points but went 6-for-20 from the field.

The victory could not have come at a better time for the Wildcats. Just minutes after winning in University Park, Iowa’s women’s team lost 78-63 to Michigan, giving the ’Cats sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings. With an 18-3 record, the ’Cats will now enjoy an extended break before returning to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Monday, Feb 10 to take on Michigan State.

The ’Cats have seven games left, four of those being home games. They’ll have a week off before taking on some of the toughest teams in the Big Ten. If there was any time to jump on the bandwagon, it’s now.

Stats provided by ESPN