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Scenes and quotables from Northwestern’s Big Ten Championship postgame celebration

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The head coach and players soaked up the moment while proclaiming there is much more to achieve.

The court was filled with emotion and joy following Northwestern’s win over Illinois that clinched the program’s first Big Ten championship in 30 years. Players, coaches, family, friends and fans gathered alike to celebrate the occasion. Here are some of the best end-of- game/postgame scenes and quotes from an incredible day at Welsh-Ryan:


Pictures


Videos


Quotes

Head Coach Joe McKeown

On when he took over the program: “[Athletic Director Jim Phillips] said to me, ‘you’re gonna have some heavy lifting when you get here’ and he was right, he’s pretty smart. But I just want to thank him for giving us the opportunity, and hopefully we can we can get a couple of these too as things move forward.”

On when he knew this team had a chance to be special: “We had a game at Duke where all of a sudden we went from a tie game, and we hit five threes like in a row to start the third quarter. Next thing you know, we’re up 25 and I’m like ‘did we just do that in Cameron’ and to a team that is probably gonna be in the NCAA tournament. So that kind of gave me like a little hope that we’re that explosive at times and we were that good defensively that day, so I think that that propelled us. I think I think that sticks out.”

On last year’s WNIT run fueling this year: “Our bucket list didn’t include Toledo, Ohio; Harrisonburg, Virginia; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Tucson, Arizona. So four to six games on the road, but it bonded us. Other teams were trying to get the season over with, it’s a long season. I think it just bonded ‘em. Pulliam hit a shot at West Virginia — it was unbelievable or else we would have went home. To win at James Madison, to win all those games, to win five games and the way we did it I think was more important than the actual the actual scores. When it came back to summer and in the fall, they wanted to build off that, they did not want to go back and I don’t think we would, but kind of left a chip on their shoulder.”

On the evolution of this group of seniors: “We had some challenges. I got to say: that team — the last game which would have been like today of the regular season — at Evanston High school, we beat Rutgers who was like a nationally ranked team. I think they just paid their dues, this group just paid their dues that year. Last year we had great chances, we had some tough injuries that maybe caught up with us into Big Ten, but you see this year I think it’s was kind of an evolution of them being freshmen and then for our senior class, too.”

On what was going through his mind while cutting down the nets: “Don’t fall. I used to be good at this, and I used to cut a lot of nets down. It’s been a while, so I just didn’t want to fall. So I’m hoping I can get more practice now, but I just didn’t want to fall. I was going to do a chin-up on the rim and just hang, but I realized I got Achilles and patellar tendons that might get hurt.”

On where this team ranks in his career: “Oh man, I’m just getting started. This group’s fun...and when you have a fun group — and they bring — it energizes you, and I think that’s what this these guys do, so I’m really excited about about coaching these guys. Even Jess just made a right-handed layup today, like a kangaroo jumping out.”

On Galernik’s senior leadership: “Byrdy I’m really proud of cause she’s made just incredible jumps here, and she takes the younger players every day after practice and works with them. People don’t know that, but that’s okay. She’s made Trienens like her personal dorm room. Obviously a lot of accolades are gonna come to Wolf and Abi Scheid, well deserved, but I think the other three seniors have made it easy for them and also for our younger players. I think that’s why we have a special team, so I’m just really proud. They’ve dealt with a lot of adversity in their careers, and they’re gonna walk out of here with a championship and a degree from Northwestern.”

Players

Abi Scheid

On her journey from a freshman to now: “I came in, it was pretty much a six-man with five or six seniors, and then they all graduated and we had to start from the ground up. We’ve been with this team since my sophomore year and it’s been a journey. All the six AMs, all the three-hour practices, it’s all been worth it because of this moment.”

On how her role has changed since arriving: “I think I put so much work especially in the summer into just perfecting my shot and just being able to work towards that and come in every day before practice and get a couple of threes up. If you would have asked me when I was coming into Northwestern probably not, but seeing how much I’ve grown as a player, if you asked me before the season I would say yeah.”

Lindsey Pulliam

On the crowd support: “It means the world, it was so awesome to have all that energy in there and have all those people in there to support us. It obviously makes us play better and it makes us give more effort so it means the world to have all those people in there today.”

On winning the Big Ten: “Oh it feels great it feels great and, I was talking to my parents like last night about how me and my team have been saying before the season even started that we were gonna win the Big Ten and nobody believed us, but that doesn’t really matter cause we all believed it, so it’s awesome to accomplish that.”

Byrdy Galernik

On the crowd and atmosphere: “It was really cool just to see like all of our friends and family from out of town, a lot of students there, and it just felt like a really good environment just to be in and to have all these people support us. We’ve had a very memorable season, and it was kind of a great way to just encapsulate the perfect moment.”

On why she chose Northwestern: “For me personally I’ve always wanted to go to a team where I beat the team in first place over the years. So kinda that underdog mentality that Northwestern has, I wanted to be a part of. Do you want to play for Maryland or do you want to beat Maryland? You always want to beat Maryland, so I was sold on the rising team and the team that nobody thought could win, because it’s always a good story.”

Abbie Wolf

On turning in one of her best career performances: “The stage was set, it was a really big one. Coach Pop said before the game, ‘you had like 18 and 10 last time, first game in the Big Ten, they can’t stop you.’ Coach said ‘bury them, bury them’ so that’s just what I tried to do, go up strong and be physical.”

Amber Jamison

On winning the Big Ten: “It’s really surreal. I just feel like I knew we could do it, and I knew we were going to do it, but when the buzzer went off I was just like ‘this really just happened.’ It was just kind of unbelievable especially since it’s been so long and we’ve been working for it, so it just felt good to know that all of our work paid off.”