Rapid Reaction: Northwestern falls in crazy fashion to Iowa, loses 70-64 in overtime

EVANSTON, IL – It was wild from start to finish, but the heartbreak-prone ‘Cats once again fell into the most painful way in a game that included pretty much everything.

Northwestern was up 14 in the third quarter, but the ‘Cats failed to stop Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and Monika Czinano along the way, falling to the Hawkeyes, 72-67.

Veronica Burton did it all for the ‘Cats once again, scoring 19 points and adding seven assists, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 45 minutes. Laya Hartman added 14 points, while first-year Melannie Daley scored 13 off the bench.

For Iowa, Clark and Czinano together for 52 points and 27 rebounds.

Northwestern entered the matchup with a three-game losing streak after a 28-point defeat at the hands of Maryland, while Iowa entered the game after winning six straight wins, its latest loss to the Wildcats on January 6. .

Lauryn Satterwhite opened the scoring for the ‘Cats with a triple from the right wing. After some mistakes on both sides, Clark found McKenna Warnock in transition to get Iowa on the board. Jillian Brown again extended “Cats” lead to three with a reverse layup under the basket, but Clark quickly responded with a jumper from the free-throw line.

A scoring drought from both teams occurred midway through the first, in which Northwestern only shot 1 in 7 from the field and Iowa only shot 1 in 10 in the same span of minutes. As both teams were icy cold, the Hawkeyes climbed up to equalize the nine-all score after Gabbie Marshall’s three.

With the clock down, Daley checked in to score his first points of the night on an elbow jumper, to which Clark responded with a layup. Burton did not let the score remain even for long, as she rose from the mid-range to take the lead at the end of the first, 13-11.

Daley brought his momentum into the second period, taking down two first jump shots from the baseline, his favorite spot on the floor. The ‘Cats started to take over the defensive end as well, forcing a traveling violation, followed by Burton taking a pass that led to the basket. Iowa were forced to call a timeout just two minutes into the second quarter, down 19-11.

When the Wildcats walked away with an 8-0 run, Cailtin Clark brought the Hawkeyes back into play with seven quick points. The team seemed to be taking their step by taking advantage of Caileigh Walsh, who recorded three early fouls and had to be replaced. The ‘Cats were able to fight the Iowa run with a layup and one from Satterwhite, then a layup from Mercy Ademusayo to finish the time.

At the break, Northwestern led Iowa 31-28. Neither team had shot particularly well, with the Wildcats only shooting 40% versus Iowa’s 38%, but the Hawkeyes finished the period with five of their last seven shots with swinging momentum. Clark led all the scorers with 11 points, while Hartman beat the ‘Cats with seven. Burton, Satterwhite and Daley were far behind with six each.

The ‘Cats opened the second half with a 13-4 run behind Burton’s two threes and Hartman’s transition shot from beyond the arc. Northwestern made four of their first five shots in the running, leading the Wildcats to 44-32 with 6:49 left in the third.

With all cylinders clicking on the Wildcat attack, Clark finished an 8-0 run with a transition layup. The National Player of the Year nominee alone wanted her team back into the game, earning two free throws before hitting a deep three to bring Iowa to seven. A layup from Czinano, coupled with a five-and-a-half-minute drought from Northwestern, ensured the game was still tight at the start of the final quarter, as Northwestern led 46-41. The ‘Cats finished the fourth with a poor shot of just 1 for 10 from the field, while Iowa scored a 9-0 run in the same amount of time.

Iowa started the last bout as hot as the previous one, scoring seven quick runs against the two of the Wildcats to equal the score at 48. After the shots were swapped between Burton and Czinano, Clark converted with a layup and one to give Iowa is the first lead since the opening of the fourth. Iowa punched three more, but Jillian Brown hit a shot from the left to keep Northwestern inside one.

Marshall was instrumental in Iowa along the stretch, finding a hole in the defense for a layup and adding a free throw to bring the Hawkeyes to four with less than two to go. Brown’s two free throws made it a single score game once again and Burton found Daley on the left wing (surprise, I know) in transition to equalize the game with 61 apiece with just 31.5 seconds left.

After a mistake by Clark, Brown grabbed the rebound, then saw Burton fly across the field with no one within ten feet of her. Burton finished the clutch layup on a reverse right-hander, bringing the Wildcats back to 63-61 with just 1.8 seconds remaining. However, a long and disconcerting review led to the basket being voided and a declaration that the match would go into extra time, despite four seconds remaining on the clock after Brown’s rebound.

This is the explanation given by the official team account:

Burton opened extra time with a free throw, but Czinano responded with a layup to regain the lead. Several big defensive plays by Burton and Courtney Shaw afterwards, Burton landed a layup to take the ‘Cats up one, but Clark didn’t make it, as the superb sophomore nailed a deep three to give Iowa a two-point lead with 51 seconds left. The Hawkeyes thereafter scored their free throws on everyone, but sealed the game and handed the Wildcats their fourth straight defeat.

Northwestern will head to West Lafayette on Thursday as the Wildcats take on the Purdue Boilermakers.

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