Northwestern stretched its winning streak to seven games last week, scoring wins over Rutgers and Wisconsin that tied the school record for most wins in a season in the NCAA era with 24, while vaulting the Wildcats into a first-place tie with Maryland in the Big Ten standings with two games left to play in the regular season.
The Wildcats, 24-3 and 14-2 Big Ten, defeated Rutgers 82-65 at home on Feb. 19 and then prevailed 82-66 at Wisconsin on Saturday. With the 24 wins, Northwestern matched its 1989-90 Big Ten title-winning team for the most wins scored by a Wildcats squad in the NCAA era. The outright program record is 25 wins, set in 1978-79.
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In the latest win over Wisconsin, the Wildcats used a 14-0 run early in the fourth quarter to secure the win and eliminate the half-game gap at the top of the Big Ten standings. Junior guard Lindsey Pulliam capped off a dominant weekend with her second 25-plus point game in a row, dropping 28 on the Badgers, connecting on 13-of-20 shots from the field. Pulliam added six rebounds and five assists.
Veronica Burton, Abi Scheid and Sydney Wood each added double digits as well in a balanced offensive effort. Wood finished with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting while racking up seven rebounds and four assists. Burton tallied 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Scheid came close to a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. As a team, the Wildcats shot over 50 percent from the field and exactly 50 percent from behind the arc for the second game in a row. Northwestern scored a crucial 19 points off of turnovers in the contest and decimated the Badgers with ball movement, finishing with 23 assists.
The win at Wisconsin came three days after Northwestern rode a balanced attack to a coast-to-coast home victory over Rutgers. Pulliam stuffed the stat sheet with 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Burton followed close behind with 23 points on a near-perfect 8-for-9 shooting performance along with five steals. Abbie Wolf also pitched in with 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Northwestern shot 59.1% (13-for-22) from the field and 55.6% (5-for-9) from three in the first half on their way to a 37-22 halftime lead. Pulliam had 15 points at the break, aided by a 3-for-4 performance from deep. Burton followed her up with nine points, while Wolf added eight points and three blocks.
The Wildcats quest for a Big Ten Title continues with a stern test on Tuesday on the road at Ohio State. A win would not only tie the school record for wins in a season, but would also provide Northwestern with an opportunity to clinch a share of the title at home on Saturday, Feb. 29 against Illinois.