Burton’s Burglary Leads Wildcats to Upset over #22 Iowa

By Andrew Neville

Northwestern (10-3, 2-0 B1G) traveled West on I-80 and slayed the No. 22 Iowa Hawkeyes (7-4, 1-1)  77-69 on Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, thanks to an all-around dominant game from Veronica Burton that included a career-high eight steals.

Burton finished with 25 points, six rebounds and six assists to go along with the eight thefts, which vaulted her into the top 10 B1G rankings for all-time career steals with 329. While Burton led the charge, plenty of other ‘Cats stepped up offensively, most notably Melannie Daley. The first-year guard flourished from the midrange, finishing with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Also contributing for Northwestern was Courtney Shaw (9 points, 11 rebounds), Caileigh Walsh (8 points) and Jillian Brown (7 points).

On the defensive end, the Wildcats were able to limit an Iowa team that came into the game averaging over 80 points-per-game. NU turned the Hawkeyes over 18 times and held them to 6-of-26 shooting from three. First-team All American Caitlin Clark led the hosts with 30 points but only shot 1-for-8 from beyond the arc. Northwestern also held Monika Czinano, the B1G leader in field goal percentage, to a modest 20 points on 8-for-14 from the field, after she torched them for 31 points-per-game in the two contests last season. The only other Hawkeye in double digits was McKenna Warnock with 14 points.

The first quarter was the Melannie Daley Show, as she drained 5-of-6 shots from the field to power Northwestern. However, the Hawkeye trio of Warnock, Clark and Czinano got rolling as well, and the stanza came to a close with the Hawkeyes up 20-18.

The Hawkeyes threatened to take a stranglehold on the game in the second quarter, as the lead hovered between five and seven points for most of the quarter. However, as many Northwestern fans have grown accustomed to seeing, when the Wildcats need a spark, they turn to Burton. The senior went on a personal 5-0 run with a step back three-pointer and two free throws over the final 1:20 of the first half to change the entire complexion of the game heading into the locker rooms.

The pace was frenetic coming out of the break and stayed that way throughout the third quarter. Northwestern put up 26 points in the frame, powering the ball down lowa with Courtney Shaw in the post and penetrating drives from Burton. Jillian Brown drained a clutch three at the end of the frame, her only triple of the game, to secure Northwestern’s four-point lead going into the final period.

For all the offense that was present for the ‘Cats in the third, it all went away in the fourth. After taking a 66-59 lead on a Daley jumper at the 7:02 mark of the fourth quarter, the Wildcats did not score for over five minutes, allowing the Hawkeyes to tie the score with 2:54 left. Then, Burton once again took the game over. With Iowa in possession and a chance to take the lead, the ‘Cats’ star pickpocketed Clark and swished an easy fast-break layup to put Northwestern back in front. After another defensive stop, Burton was fouled on a drive into the lane and drained both free throws to give the visitors a two-possession lead they would never relinquish.

The Wildcats return to Evanston on Sunday to take on Ohio State from Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tune in to WNUR 89.3 FM and Mixlr at 2:00 p.m. CT. Matthew Coronado and Brea Lassek will have the call.