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Northwestern women’s basketball loses to Iowa 55-45

Northwestern survived a 1-point first quarter but couldn’t come back.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Iowa vs Northwestern Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern women’s basketball’s time at the Big Ten Tournament is over, but the Wildcats certainly have much to build upon for next season.

After getting outscored 22-1 in the first quarter, the Wildcats ground their way back into the game, cutting the lead down to just 5 points with 3:30 remaining. Once again, the team’s future played well, as Lindsey Pulliam scored 17 points (on 18 shots, but...we’ll let it slide) and Kunaiyi-Akpanah snagged 17 boards.

But both players were ice-cold in the first quarter, which put Northwestern in a hole that it could not recover from. Northwestern could hit anything, going 0-for-15 from the field in the first quarter.

However, the Wildcats responded with a defensive intensity that was on display against Wisconsin and Rutgers. Iowa only scored 19 points over the next 20 minutes while Northwestern scored 28. Despite only shooting 25 percent from the field, the Wildcats had cut it to an 11-point game.

The Wildcats kept chipping away, but Iowa managed to find the plot again and reassert control by the end of the fourth quarter. Pulliam’s 10 second half points helped, but Northwestern still shot just 30 percent from the field in the second half. Northwestern needed a few more shots to fall to make it competitive, but that’s what happens when you play good teams.

Northwestern women’s basketball ends its season 12-20 with five Big Ten wins. This is Northwestern’s worst season since 2008-09, Joe McKeown’s first season at the helm. However, we were expecting a down year from Northwestern, and there were several encouraging signs from the season. Injuries to Jordan Hamilton, Lydia Rohde and others also hurt the squad in the middle of the season. Next year should be better.