Newly 11th-ranked (!) Northwestern women’s basketball (26-3, 16-2 B1G) cleaned up at Monday afternoon’s 2019-20 Big Ten Honors. After climbing another three spots in the AP Poll this week to their highest ranking in 27 years, the ‘Cats added even more resumé-builders (this time on an individual level) heading into the post-season.
Unsurprisingly, Joe McKeown was selected as Big Ten Coach of the Year by the coaches and media following his record-setting season with the ‘Cats. After earning Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year five times during his time at George Washington, this was McKeown’s first time receiving the award since joining the Big Ten in 2008.
He carried Northwestern to a program-high 26 wins on the season (along with a record 16 conference victories), breaking his personal record with the ‘Cats of 23 wins and even earning his 700th career win back in December. McKeown becomes the second coach in program history to win this award.
As the heart and soul of one of the best defenses in the country, Veronica Burton was selected as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and the All-Big Ten second team by the vote of the media and the coaches. She leads the conference in both steals (3.3 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4) and is ninth in the nation in steals per game. Her 97 steals during the regular season ranks fourth in program history for most steals in a single season.
This season, she also was a major asset on offense, averaging 11.5 points 5 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. She becomes the second Northwestern player to earn the DPOY honor, but also the third Wildcat in five years to achieve it (point guard Ashley Deary was recognized as such in both 2016 and 2017).
For the second consecutive season, Lindsey Pulliam unanimously earned a well-deserved spot on the All-Big Ten first team after leading her team to a historic season, receiving a vote from every coach or media member who filled out a ballot. She finished the regular season third in the conference in scoring, averaging 19.1 points per game (554 total points), and recorded 14 games with 20+ points and two with 30+.
Senior Abi Scheid was also named to the All-Big Ten first team by the coaches’ vote. As the most accurate three-point shooter in the nation at 48.6 percent, Scheid led the team in minutes and was the second leading scorer and averaged 11.8 points per game. She led the team both on and off the court in her best shooting season of her career. The media had Scheid on the second team.
Abbie Wolf also earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten from both the coaches and the media (Sydney Wood, Burton’s backcourt partner and defensive stud, got the recognition from only the latter). Wolf was the team’s third-leading scorer and leading rebounder, averaging 11.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. She scored double digit points in 21 of NU’s games this season and recorded three double-doubles.
Finally, Amber Jamison was Northwestern’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.
As the ‘Cats continue to get the Big Ten and national recognition they deserve, they will continue their historic season this weekend as they prepare to face off against the winner of Michigan-Nebraska on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.