In their first game at the newly renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern coasted to a 15-point win against the 5th-ranked Division II team in the country. Led by hot shooting by Abi Scheid and Amber Jamison with last year’s leading scorer, Lindsey Pulliam, chipping in 18 points, the Wildcats jumped out to an early 15-5 lead and didn’t let the Flyers get closer than eight the rest of the way.
Jamison played just 14 minutes in her return to action, but poured in 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, seemingly automatic on midrange jumpers. Scheid went 4-of-8 from three and added five boards, four assists and three steals to her team-high 22 points. Meanwhile, Pulliam had a solid, if unspectacular day at the office, going 8-of-16 on mostly midrange looks.
Joe McKeown and his staff got every rostered player except for Lauryn Satterwhite on the floor, with only Scheid registering 30 or more minutes. First year Veronica Burton, unexpectedly, joined Pulliam and Jordan Hamilton in the starting lineup, and finished with just five points on 2-of-6 shooting, though she did add five assists and five steals against turnover-prone Lewis.
Other notable lines for Northwestern included Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah, who battled foul trouble, finishing with nine points and seven rebounds thanks to an auspicious 5-of-6 night at the foul line. Hamilton’s performance was mixed, as she recorded five assists but went just 2-of-7 and had four turnovers. Sydney Wood and Abbie Wolf were the other players to record double-digit minutes: Wood had six points and three assists, while Wolf had two points and four boards backing up Kunaiyi-Akpanah.
Tierney Lockett and Rachel Hinders led the way for Lewis, with 15 and 24 points respectively. The Flyers, coming off of a relatively respectable 107-65 loss to unanimous (in the AP poll) #1 Notre Dame, were held to 41% shooting by the Wildcats, and star forward Jessica Kelliher was held to just 8 points.
Northwestern forced 16 Lewis turnovers and converted them into 17 fast break points, while shooting 48 percent on field goals, 36 percent from beyond the arc, and 91 percent on free throws. It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Wildcats, who will travel to Green Bay to face a Phoenix squad that received a No. 7 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament on Tuesday night. The game will tip at 7 p.m., and can be heard on WNUR 89.3 FM in the Chicago area, and across the country online. Next up will be the home opener against #21 Duke Sunday at 1 p.m.
For more information on this young Northwestern team, who looks poised to make noise in a transitioning Big Ten, you can find our season preview here.