Editor’s note: Each week, WNUR Sports recaps the news and results from the in-season, non-revenue teams that we cover in order to help our listeners and readers stay connected to the pulse of Northwestern athletics. For men’s basketball coverage, click HERE.
By Sam Brief
Coming off a 2-1 series loss on the road against ACC power Duke, the Wildcats ventured back down south to take on Georgia Tech in Atlanta. In Friday night’s Game One, the Yellow Jackets crushed Northwestern, 12-1. Then in Game Two, after the Wildcats took a 2-1 lead early on thanks to a pair of RBI hits courtesy of the Dunn brothers, Georgia Tech scored eight unanswered runs to win, 9-2.
For the second week in a row, though, Game Three went to Northwestern. Behind Quinn LaVelle’s dominant pitching (7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 0 BB), the Wildcats topped the Yellow Jackets, 5-1. Northwestern powered to five runs in the eighth inning, with a pair of freshman (Shawn Goosenberg and Anthony Calarco) playing a starring role. Now 4-6, the Wildcats have a date with Missouri this weekend.
Northwestern is 4-2 and still boasts a top-ten team nationally, ranking No. 9 right now. This week, Kelly Amonte Hiller’s squad headed down to Chapel Hill, NC to face off against No. 3 North Carolina. The Tar Heels emerged on top of Northwestern, 21-11, in spite of a Lauren Gilbert three-goal performance. The Wildcats will soon face their biggest test of the season on March 9 against No. 1 Boston College.
Freshman Danielle Williams earned her second Big Ten Player of the Week award of the young season with another incredible weekend. She pitched 13 innings, struck out 21 and didn’t give up a single earned run. Out West in Palo Alto, California, Northwestern went 3-1, with wins over Cal Poly, North Dakota State and Montana. Now 14-4, the Wildcats were unranked in this week’s NCAA Top 25 poll but were the first team out with 32 votes. Next up: Norman, Oklahoma, with a few games slated against the No. 3 Sooners.
With the Big Ten Tournament approaching, the Wildcats split their final two games of the regular season. First up, we were treated to a dominant Senior Night win over Indiana. Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah, who leaves Northwestern as one of the most productive players in program history, became just the second Wildcat ever to tally 1,000 rebounds. In her final home game, she registered her 16th double-double of the season as Northwestern rolled Indiana, 69-49. Lindsey Pulliam paved the way for the Wildcats with 24 points of her own in the team’s ninth conference win of the year.
Then, the Wildcats ran into Megan Gustafson and the machine that is Iowa. Up just five at halftime, the Hawkeyes steamrolled Northwestern in the second half, cruising to a 24-point win. The Wildcats locked up the 8th-seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, where they’ll face the Michigan State Spartans in the second round. Back on January 3, Northwestern upset then-No. 15 Michigan State, 70-62.