By Ben Moskow
Northwestern Women’s Basketball (9-7, 2-3 Big Ten) fell to the Purdue Boilermakers (13-5, 4-1 Big Ten) at home on Sunday, 57-54. The Wildcats battled back toward the end but ultimately could not overcome a 33-22 halftime deficit.
Forward Ae’Rianna Harris led the way for the Boilermakers with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. She served as a dominant presence in the paint, ripping down offensive rebounds and putting pressure on looks in the paint. Forward Tamara Farquhar also made her presence felt down low with a whopping 18 rebounds.
“Our inability to rebound the basketball hurt us tonight,” said Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown.
Harris and the Boilermakers got out to an early lead, exploiting the Northwestern 2-3 zone to make four of their first eight three-pointers. This was a sharp contrast to the Wildcats, who connected on just 30.3 percent of their field goals in the first half.
“We have to come out stronger, more aggressive and ready to play” said guard Lindsey Pulliam.
Guard Byrdy Galernik checked in for her first action in the second half and her presence was key in the Northwestern second half comeback. The Wildcats cut the deficit to one late in the fourth quarter but a go-ahead Pulliam baseline jumper rimmed out. Dominique Oden then sank two free throws to give Purdue the final victory margin.
Pulliam finished with 15 points to lead Northwestern in scoring. Forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah stuffed the stat sheet as well with another double-double, finishing with 13 points, 14 rebounds and a particularly impressive chase-down block.
Center Abbie Wolf played big minutes with Abi Schied on the shelf. Wolf finished with six points, eight rebounds and three assists with but struggled from the field, going just 3-9.
Northwestern will look to get back in the win column on the road in Bloomington against No. 25 Indiana on Wednesday.
“This team has a lot of heart. We’ll bounce back,” McKeown said.