EVANSTON — After arguably their biggest win of the season, the Northwestern Wildcats (16-2, 6-1 B1G) throttled the Penn State Nittany Lions (7-11, 1-6 B1G) 85-59 Sunday afternoon.
The ‘Cats fired on all cylinders to score a season-high in points behind 50 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent from three. Senior Abi Scheid had a massive day with 24 points and seven rebounds, shooting a near-perfect 8-of-9 from the field. She made a career-high six threes on 100 percent shooting from behind the arc. Lindsey Pulliam and Abbie Wolf added 21 and 14, respectively, while Veronica Burton had another solid day with six points, six rebounds, three steals and nine assists.
Joe McKeown went with the same starting lineup for the 15th straight game and his squad got off to a hot start on both sides of the court. Wolf’s interior presence prevented a Kamaria McDaniel-led Penn State from converting its shots in the paint with any consistency. Meanwhile, Scheid hit two early threes to score her 1000th career point, prompting a Penn State timeout with the ‘Cats leading 10-2 four minutes in.
The Nittany Lions came out of the timeout in a full-court press, but Burton found Wolf alone under the basket on a cross-court pass for the easy lay-up. At the same time, Penn State continued to miss shots in the paint, going a mere 2-for-18 from the field in the quarter. Scheid stayed hot and did not miss a shot in the quarter. The Minnesota native scored 11 and added 5 rebounds as the ‘Cats led 24-7.
Early in the second quarter Penn State found a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 15, but an emphatic and-one mid-range from Pulliam put an abrupt end to the Nittany Lions’ momentum. The teams traded points as Scheid was briefly subbed out. However, when she returned, the ‘Cats knocked down four field goals in a row, stretching their lead to 25. After a McDaniel missed free throw, Burton went the length of the court for a lay-up right at the buzzer. Northwestern took a 45-19 lead going into the break, aided by a dismal 6-of-33 first-half shooting performance for Penn State.
With a comfortable advantage going in the third quarter, the ‘Cats kept Penn State at arms length. Scheid hit another three-pointer and finally missed her first shot of the contest with 6:32 remaining in the third. The Nittany Lions improved their shooting totals, going 10-for-16 from the field in the quarter, yet they still had an enormous deficit to make up. Pulliam added 10 big points in the quarter, and Scheid found six more to add to her impressive total. The ‘Cats were up 69-42 going into the final frame.
As the fourth quarter progressed, the ‘Cats kept the Lady Lions in check. Scheid exited the game to a nice ovation with 6:31 remaining after an 8-0 run to expand the lead to 35. Lauryn Satterwhite and Byrdy Galernik entered the game midway through the fourth to relieve the starters.
Soon after, Jess Sancataldo saw the court for her second game this season. Freshmen Laya Hartman and Kayla Rainey also entered in the dying minutes of the game. A hard foul saw Satterwhite fall to the floor with a head injury. She was taken back to the locker room early with three minutes remaining.
Northwestern’s bench struggled on defense in the final minutes but maintained a sizable 26-point margin of victory.
Sydney Wood added five points, five assists, three blocks and a nice helping of her traditionally excellent defense, while Courtney Shaw chipped in nine points off the bench.
The first place ‘Cats will hit the road to take on Michigan State on Thursday before traveling to College Park to take on the No. 20 Maryland Terrapins for the second time this season.