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Northwestern women’s basketball beats Rutgers 63-50

Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah earned her 18th double-double of the season.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Maryland v Northwestern Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern women’s basketball closed out the regular season with a morale-boosting 63-50 win over Rutgers.

In its last game at the Beardsley Gym at Evanston Township High School, Northwestern notched a comfortable win behind Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah’s 20-rebound performance. Lindsey Pulliam closed out her first regular season with a 23 point night.

Northwestern controlled the game from the first quarter onward. The Scarlet Knights were able to edge ahead 11-6 after a three from Kathleen Fitzpatrick, but the Wildcats battled back to lead 15-13 after the first quarter. Once Northwestern took an advantage, the Wildcats’ determined defense kept Rutgers out of the game completely. Kunaiyi-Akpanah dominated the defensive boards while first-year Lindsey Pulliam created on the offensive end. Before long Northwestern was up 34-26 at halftime.

The defensive pressure proved to be too much for Rutgers, who never had a chance to fight back in the game. Northwestern won 63-50. Kunaiyi-Akpanah also set a school record for the most rebounds in a single year. She also tied Nia Coffey’s record for most double-doubles in a single season.

Northwestern will head to the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 12 seed and face Wisconson on Wednesday afternoon. The last time Northwestern was the No. 12 seed, it made the semifinals in 2016.