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Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana Attendance: 3,632
Gulbe scores 20, No. 5 Indiana beats Northwestern 69-58
By EVAN GERIKE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Aleksa Gulbe scored 20 points and Grace Berger had 11 of her 15 points in the second half to help No. 5 Indiana pull away for a 69-58 win over Northwestern on Thursday night.
"(Gulbe) has really been so good for us offensively," Indiana coach Teri Moren said. "We ask her to do a lot and she never bats an eye. She's playing some of her best basketball right now."
Nicole Cardano-Hillary scored 17 points, including three 3-pointers, for Indiana (19-4, 11-2 Big Ten). Mackenzie Holmes scored 6 points and had six rebounds in her first game back since Jan. 5 after having surgery on her left knee.
Veronica Burton led Northwestern (14-10, 6-7) with 20 points and had four steals. Lauryn Satterwhite and Jillian Brown each added 14 points.
"Our plan was that we didn't want to allow (Burton) to control the game defensively by us giving her the ball," Moren said. "She's obviously the head of the snake. Nikki guarded her, I thought Chloe (Moore-McNeil) came in the first half and did a good job."
Northwestern took the lead on a 12-4 run in the third quarter after a stretch where Indiana made one of 10 shots. Then Cardano-Hillary found Gulbe, who drained a 3-pointer, then converted a free throw after being fouled on the shot and blocked a layup on the defensive end. Indiana went on an 8-0 run to end the quarter.
The Hoosiers rode the momentum the rest of the way, including a second 8-0 run in the fourth quarter.
"Things weren't really going our way," Gulbe said. "It was huge that Nikki found me open and I just made the play."
Northwestern turned the ball over six times in the first half and shot 35.5% from the field, while Indiana turned the ball over nine times. The teams combined for eight turnovers in the less-sloppy second half.
Indiana finished the game shooting 48%, made 4 of 13 3-pointers. Northwestern shot 41.7% and made 6 of 16 3-pointers, but made just one in the second half.
Northwestern: The Wildcats beat then-No. 4 Michigan on Sunday in double overtime, but couldn't knock off a second straight ranked opponent.
Indiana: Holmes' return comes before a three-game stretch against ranked opponents to end the regular season. Holmes played 23 minutes.
"She looked like she hadn't played in a month, but that will all come back," Moren said. "She's too good of a player."
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Indiana missed only two of its 19 free throws. Five players made all of their free throws and only Gulbe missed. Northwestern only went to the line five times, making two.
The Hoosiers snapped a four-game win streak in a 17-point loss against Nebraska on Monday, but bounced back with a win Thursday. Two other top-10 teams have lost this week: No. 3 Louisville and No. 6 Iowa State.
Northwestern: At Illinois on Monday.
Indiana: Hosts No. 22 Iowa in Bloomington on Saturday before making up a postponed game at Iowa on Monday.
More AP women's college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated February 17, 2022