Piece of the pie for Cats
NU earns at least a share of Big Ten crown with win
Abbie Wolf scored 21 points, and No. 14 Northwestern defeated rival Illinois 75-58 on Saturday in Evanston to clinch at least a share of its first Big Ten title in 30 years and set a school record with its 26th win.
Lindsey Pulliam added 17 points, Veronica Burton had 13 and Abi Scheid 10 for the Wildcats (26-3, 16-2), who have won a season-high nine straight.
Northwestern shot 50% and held Illinois to 30% to take a 36-25 lead at the half.
Wolf provided the spark in the third quarter with three consecutive and-one conversions, part of a 14-4 run that pushed the lead to 16. She also had a pair of free throws in a 6-0 spurt that made it 56-35 late in the quarter.
Brandi Beasley scored 18 points for the Illini (11-17, 2-15), who take a six-game losing streak into the conference tournament.
Northwestern was a plus-15 on the boards. Wolf had nine rebounds, Pulliam eight and Scheid, who also had seven assists, had seven.
The Wildcats won 25 games in 1978-79, and the 1989-90 Big Ten champions won 24 games.
No. 7 Maryland (24-4, 15-2) is a half-game behind Northwestern heading into its regular-season finale at Minnesota (15-13, 5-12) on Sunday.
Northwestern coach Joe McKeown holds the Big Ten championship trophy Saturday after the Wildcats defeated Illinois 75-58 to win at least a share of the conference title.
Northwestern’s Lindsey Pulliam reacts after hitting a shot Saturday against Illinois.