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Northwestern women’s basketball goes 1-2 at the Challenge in Music City

A bad call at the end of the Georgetown game will be tough to swallow

Northwestern women’s basketball came to Nashville with a five-game winning streak. They left with some serious anger at the officiating. The Northwestern (5-2) women’s basketball team went 1-2 at the Challenge in Music City, earning a close win over Auburn but also getting crushed by Chattanooga and losing a controversial game to Georgetown.

The Thanksgiving weekend tournament started inauspiciously for Northwestern. Chattanooga opened proceedings by pasting Northwestern 22-7. The Wildcats were doubled up at halftime but made a huge fightback to bring the game within reach in the fourth. Unfortunately, Chattanooga rallied and won 61-44.

Northwestern’s offensive issues (they shot just 31.4 percent against Chattanooga) returned against Auburn, but the Wildcats eked out a 49-48 win. Jordan Hamilton hit a go-ahead jumper with 15 seconds left. Northwestern controlled much of the game but allowed Auburn to take the lead late after a stirring fourth-quarter comeback. Hamilton’s shot ensured Northwestern wouldn’t leave Tennessee empty-handed.

Finally, Northwestern faced Georgetown on Sunday. Once again, Northwestern’s offense didn’t kick into gear, but a stiff defensive presence kept the game close. The Wildcats rallied from a double-digit deficit, but with the game tied and the clock ticking down to overtime, Jordan Hamilton was called for a nonsense blocking foul that sent Georgetown to the line with 0.5 seconds remaining. Georgetown made 1-of-2 free throws and survived with a 55-54 victory.

Northwestern’s win over a solid Auburn team is definitely something to celebrate, but the loss to Georgetown has to hurt. For a team lacking major non-conference wins for any potential NCAA Tournament résumé, the end of the Georgetown game could be critical. Northwestern’s offense also lacked punch throughout the weekend, although freshman Lindsay Pulliam continued to prove her dynamic scoring abilities. Pulliam is averaging 14 points per game. She had 30 percent of Northwestern’s points during the tournament.

Northwestern won’t have much time to rest, however, as another non-conference test looms on November 30, when the Wildcats travel to Syracuse to face the Orange at 6 p.m. This time, you’ll be able to actually watch the game on ESPN3!