EVANSTON — Northwestern women’s basketball (5-0) extended its early season win-streak with a dominant 73-44 Wednesday afternoon victory over Colgate (5-2). The Wildcats controlled the game both offensively and defensively with a solid all-around team effort.
In the team’s best defensive performances this season, Northwestern held Colgate to a mere 30.4 percent shooting from the field and 9.1 percent from three. While every Wildcat contributed to the team’s impressive defensive effort, Veronica Burton led the way with five steals (the team had 14 as a whole), three rebounds, a block and a plus-minus of +21.
Lindsey Pulliam impressed, with 18 points on the day on 8-of-15 shooting. The Wildcats’ bigs had big days as well offensively as Abbie Wolf finished with 12 points and six rebounds, Courtney Shaw with ten points and six boards and Abi Scheid with nine. While it took her a while to heat up, Sydney Wood had an overall solid performance as well. She finished with seven points but also posted eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.
NU jumped out to an early 11-0 lead over the Raiders and never looked back. Colgate could not find a basket for the first five minutes of the game due to Northwestern’s shutdown full-court press and blizzard defense. Once Colgate finally found a bucket, they scored on three straight possessions to attempt to cut away at Northwestern’s lead; however, a few automatic pull-up jumpers and eight first quarter points from Pulliam kept the lead at 22-9 after one.
The second quarter resembled the first for Colgate’s offense. The ‘Cats held the Raiders to just nine second quarter points and shut them out for the first five minutes of the period yet again. However, Northwestern relied on a new group to produce the defensive success.
Courtney Shaw and Bryana Hopkins put up big minutes in the second on defense. In just five minutes of play in the quarter, Hopkins pulled down three rebounds and recorded a steal. Shaw’s hustle and athleticism were unmatched and provided the team with great momentum. She started the half by swatting a shot nearly out of the gym and took a charge on the same opening possession. Her aggressive play helped give Northwestern the 35-18 lead at half.
In the second half, Colgate was able to hang closer with the ‘Cats. The two teams exchanged buckets back and forth for most of the half, and NU only outscored the Raiders by 12.
Northwestern’s starters dominated the playing time in the third quarter, as Pulliam continued to put up points while Wood came alive and found her shot. In the fourth, Coach McKeown looked deeper down his bench but maintained a sizable lead for the remainder of the game. Brooke Pikiell saw her first action of the season, and true first year Kaylah Rainey made her first career regular season basket with a left wing three.
Colgate’s second half efforts were ultimately not enough to even close the deficit, and Northwestern would win by a sizable 29-point margin.
The Wildcats were able to impress offensively as a whole, and point production was not an issue, but they only shot 16.7 percent from three on the day, which could be an issue in their upcoming matchup against DePaul.
The Wildcats will host the No. 16 Blue Demons at home on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the toughest matchup of their nonconference schedule.