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Rapid Reaction: Northwestern battles to 77-67 victory over Iowa

The Wildcats earned a decisive and meaningful victory against the Hawkeyes.

EVANSTON, Illinois — No. 22 Northwestern (6-2, 4-2 B1G) grinded out a quality 77-67 win against a talented Iowa (8-2, 4-2 B1G) squad on Saturday night. Behind an all-around team effort and dominant performances from the guards, NU confirmed it can compete against some of the conference’s top talent despite its two-game slide last week.

Hamilton had her best night of the season with a team-high 19 points, five rebounds and three assists. Burton and Sydney Wood were both impressive once again with 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals for the Massachusetts native and 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks for her backcourt partner.

The Wildcats opened the first firing on all cylinders and hit their first three shots from behind the arc to take an 11-4 lead. Burton hit two shots from deep, a pair from the charity stripe and added two steals and two assists in just the first three and a half minutes while the Hawkeyes turned the ball over five times in that period. NU extended its lead to as much as nine in the quarter, but Caitlin Clark helped create a couple of big shots off her five first-quarter assists to cut the lead to 23-16 after one.

Iowa surged early in the second with an 11-0 run to overtake the lead with five minutes remaining. The Wildcats had no answer for Monika Czinano who led all scorers with 16 points in the half on 8-of-8 shooting.

Northwestern eventually found a 6-0 run of its own thanks to Wood and Hamilton and regained a 34-31 lead before a three from Gabbie Marshall tied the game at 34. Czinano and Kaylah Rainey traded buckets in the final 30 seconds to keep the score even at halftime.

Burton and Hamilton dominated the third, scoring 10 and eight points each in the frame. Burton was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field in the period while Hamilton hit both of her attempts from deep. Her two threes came early in the quarter and allowed NU to regain a 44-39 lead. From there, the game’s pace slowed as both squads traded buckets for the majority of the quarter and were hot from beyond the arc, each shooting above 50% from three-point land. The Wildcats ended the third with a 9-0 and held a 62-50 lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 5-0 run led by Czinano and McKenna Warnock to start the quarter and cut Northwestern’s lead to six. But their efforts were too little, too late because the ‘Cats were able to extend their final margin of victory to 10 points.

Czinano led the Hawkeyes with 28 points and 12 rebounds while Marshall recorded 11. NU held Clark to just eight points, well under her season average of 27.6 per game.

Northwestern will hit the road later this week to face Rutgers (5-3, 1-3 B1G) on Thursday before taking on the Penn State Nittany Lions (3-5, 0-4 B1G) on Sunday.