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Rapid Reaction: Northwestern’s offense slows in second half, resulting in 72-59 loss to No. 12 Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament

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Pain.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— What began as neck-and-neck battle at Gainbridge Fieldhouse slowly soured, as Northwestern (17-12, 8-9 B1G) fell 72-59 to No. 12 Iowa (21-7, 15-4 B1G) in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.

In what might very well be her last appearance in a Wildcat uniform, Veronica Burton turned in a memorable night with a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds, adding four assists, three steals and two blocks. Courtney Shaw helped out on the boards, adding 12 rebounds of her own, and Lauryn Satterwhite boosted the scoreline with 12 points to her name. For the Hawkeyes, it was the usual duo of Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano who combined for 40 points and 20 rebounds.

Burton opened up the scoring with a solid step-back three on the first possession of the game which was immediately followed by an easy layup in the paint by Monika Czinano. Both teams then traded a few missed opportunities before Burton and Laya Hartman sent in two points each, giving Northwestern an early 7-2 lead.

Iowa, however, was able to get back into the game with relative ease. Clark scored her first points of the game on a drive to the basket, and the Hawkeyes’ Addison O’Grady followed suit with two points of her own to bring the score to 10-8 in Northwestern’s favor at the first media timeout.

After the break and a trademark mid-range jumper by Mel Daley, both teams failed to score for just over two minutes before O’Grady laid another in. Burton quickly answered at the other end, and, from there, both teams traded points to close out the opening quarter with the ‘Cats in front by three after a Jillian Brown make from long-range shortly before the buzzer.

With the start of the second frame came the true beginning of the point guard battle between Burton and Clark. It was Burton once again who opened scoring with yet another step-back three, putting NU up 20-14. Clark matched her with a three of her own, but Burton was quick to stop Iowa’s momentum with a jumper on the other end.

Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, Clark then found her stride and, left open on both instances, hit two back-to-back threes to give Iowa its first lead of the game. Northwestern didn’t let up, though, as Laya Hartman answered with two points of her own to bring NU back ahead 26-25 with 4:22 remaining in the half.

The rest of the quarter was an offensive flurry, as the sides traded points back and forth. Ultimately, the Hawkeyes managed to head to the locker room with a 32-31 lead after a foul by Courtney Shaw sent Czinano to the line and the Iowa big converted both of her tries.

Lauryn Satterwhite kicked off the second half with her first points of the game, hitting a mid-range jumper to give the ‘Cats the lead. Czinano and Shaw then went back-to-back at the rim, maintaining NU’s lead at 35-34.

The Hawkeyes then went on a tear, scoring six unanswered points before the first media timeout of the half. The Hawks’ scoring continued after the break thanks to a layup from Gabbie Marshall which brought their lead to seven.

It was Satterwhite, then, who kept the ‘Cats within striking range. The graduate student hit two consecutive threes with a score from Iowa’s McKenna Warnock sandwiched in between, bringing the margin back to three.

Both teams once again traded points, but efforts from Marshall and Kate Martin pushed the Hawkeyes even further ahead, bringing the score to 52-44 with 2:23 remaining in the third frame.

The final few minutes of the quarter were whistle-filled, with Burton, Czinano and Martin all receiving trips to the line. Unfortunately for NU, the Wildcats were unable to get much closer to Iowa before the whistle, and they finished out the third down 10, 57-47.

The fourth quarter started out slowly, with only four points scored between the teams in the first three minutes of play. The problem for the Wildcats, of course, was that all of the points were scored by Hawkeyes, increasing their lead to 14. Nothing was falling for the Wildcats in response, who began the frame going 0-for-9 from the field and failed to score in the first four minutes of fourth quarter play.

Burton finally ended the drought on a trip to the line, but her two baskets did little to make a dent in the ever-expanding margin. Iowa converted a three-pointer on the other end immediately after, forcing the ‘Cats even deeper into a hole with the score at 66-49.

A Hartman three saw a slight shift of momentum sway in Northwestern’s favor, and Satterwhite added another from beyond the arc shortly after and brought the deficit down into single digits for the first time all quarter. Nonetheless, there was little Northwestern could do to stop Clark and the Hawkeyes from there. Iowa’s lead only increased as time wound down, ending Northwestern’s Big Ten Tournament run and, potentially, its season.