Lindsey Pulliam did all she could, but Northwestern women’s basketball dropped its fifth straight game in another tight loss. Northwestern (9-15, 2-8 B1G) faced a 16-point deficit with just 5:29 remaining, but a blistering 18-2 run to end regulation brought Northwestern back into the game. Byrdy Galernik’s game-tying three with 12 seconds remaining silenced the crowd, but Tyra Buss led Indiana (12-15, 5-6 B1G) back from disaster to seal the game after overtime.
It was a truly amazing game at Assembly Hall as both teams enjoyed a staggering display of scoring from their stars. Pulliam scored 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting, dominating the midrange game and making crazy contested layups. But her opponent Tyra Buss was up for the task, pouring in 31 points of her own.
Northwestern played from behind for nearly the entire contest. Indiana built a 20-6 lead in the first quarter behind an offensive flurry from Buss and Amanda Cahill, but Pulliam was able to drag Northwestern back to just a 6-point deficit by halftime. Pulliam had 16 at the halfway mark and continued her hot shooting in the third quarter, but Northwestern’s blizzard zone defense was unable to contain Indiana’s size in the paint. The Hoosiers had 38 points in the paint on the night and it seemed like Buss could get to the rim whenever she wanted.
It looked like Northwestern was headed for another blowout loss, but Indiana went completely cold from the field in the fourth, allowing the Wildcats an opening. The Wildcats chipped away at the 16-point deficit courtesy of Pulliam, who scored 12 consecutive points for Northwestern. Suddenly, it was 69-66 and Indiana was reeling. A key Abi Scheid steal with 12 seconds left gave Northwestern a chance. Byrdy Galernik canned a three-pointer to send the game to overtime.
But in overtime, Northwestern’s offense stalled out. Indiana was able to retake the lead with two free throws from Kym Royster, and the Hoosiers finally sealed the deal 78-73.
Once again, Northwestern suffered a loss that seems promising for the future. Pulliam is still just a first-year and she has plenty of talent around her to work with in 2018-19. While it’s incredibly frustrating to repeatedly play well and lose by five or less (something that’s happened three times in our last five games) hopefully Northwestern can use this experience in the future.
Northwestern women’s basketball next faces Michigan in Ann Arbor in February 8th.