Northwestern (8-8, 1-1 B1G) got back on track in Big Ten play with a convincing 74-59 win over Illinois (9-7, 0-2 B1G) in Champaign.
Northwestern thoroughly outplayed Illinois on both ends of the floor. The offense, led by Abi Scheid’s 20 points, was unstoppable. After a relatively slow start, the Wildcats kicked it into gear in the second quarter and methodically took apart Illinois’ defense. Northwestern had 36 points in the paint and also hit 8 threes. Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah dominated Illinois in the interior, ending with 16 rebounds and 16 points.
After Scheid started proceedings with a three on Northwestern’s first possession, the first quarter progressed without much scoring. Backup point guard Byrdy Galernik kickstarted Northwestern’s offense in the second quarter with 6 much-needed points. Scheid had 12 by the end of the first half. Illinois could only muster 21 points total in the entire half.
Up by 14 at halftime, Northwestern continued to keep up the offensive pressure in the second half. Northwestern’s lead never dipped under double digits and the Wildcats cruised to a solid victory.
Northwestern’s next game will be against Michigan State on January 3rd.