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Around the NCAAW Weekly: Pulliam dominates Terps, while Yellow Jackets sting

Lindsey Pulliam of the Northwestern Wildcats put up 24 points on then-No. 12 Maryland Terrapins. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets continued to look strong on the defensive side of the ball.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Iowa vs Northwestern
Don’t forget about Lindsey Pulliam when talking about the best of the Big Ten. Here she is surrounded by the eventual Big Ten Tournament champion Iowa Hawkeyes last year.
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Around the NCAAW Weekly highlights the notable events of the week. Check out the surprises, milestones and outstanding performances:

Surprises

Northwestern Wildcats over Maryland Terrapins

The Wildcats were impressive in their upset over then-No. 12 Maryland on New Year’s Eve. Lindsey Pulliam stood out in particular, and looked like one of the most talented players in the Big Ten. She was the best player against the Terps in the 23-point win, scoring 24 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Pulliam leads Northwestern with 19.5 points per game.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets’ comeback win

On Jan. 2, Georgia Tech continued its impressive defensive run, coming back from down 23-9 after the first quarter by holding then-No. 23 Miami Hurricanes to just 19 points in the second and third quarters combined, and winning the fourth 30-12. The Yellow Jackets are an impressive 11-3 overall and 2-1 in the ACC. Against the Hurricanes, they were led in scoring by Lotta-Maj Lahtinen and Jasmine Carson, who both had 15 points. Lorela Cubaj added 10 points and 10 rebounds while Kierra Fletcher scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds. However, Georgia Tech only averages 65.4 points per game. If the Yellow Jackets can improve offensively, they have a defense that could carry them to bigger and better things. For now, they look like they are going to be competitive in low-scoring games.

Milestones

Oregon Ducks

On Jan. 3, Ruthy Hebard surpassed 2,000 career points and Sabrina Ionescu surpassed 900 career assists. Ionescu is the 12th member of the 900-helpers club on the women’s side.

Jaelynn Penn (Indiana Hoosiers)

Penn, a junior guard, reached 1,000 career points on Dec. 31.

Iona Gaels

Iona defeated Quinnipiac 75-71 on Jan. 2 to halt the Bobcats’ 52 conference-game winning streak in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Rhyne Howard (Kentucky Wildcats)

Howard notched a career-high 37 points on Jan. 5 and made seven 3-pointers in the process, tying a single-game program record. In the same game, she had nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks to lead the No. 14 Wildcats past the No. 23 Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Howard also scored 28 points on Jan. 2 in a loss to the No. 4 South Carolina Gamecocks.

Other top performances

Elissa Cunane: 28 points (tied a career high), nine rebounds and three assists for the NC State Wolfpack in a win over the Virginia Tech Hokies on Jan. 2. Cunane also had 26 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in a win over the Virginia Cavaliers on Jan. 5.

Becca Hitner: 37 points, seven rebounds and four blocks for the Drake Bulldogs in a win over the Northern Iowa Panthers on Jan. 3.

Aja Blount: 38 points and eight rebounds for the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in a win over the South Alabama Jaguars on Jan. 4.

N’dea Jones: 22 points (career high), 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks for the Texas A&M Aggies in a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks on Jan. 2.

Te’a Cooper: 32 points (career high), six rebounds and four assists for the Baylor Lady Bears in a win over the Oklahoma Sooners on Jan. 4.

Games of the week

Harvard Crimson over Rhode Island Rams, 61-58 (OT)

Mackenzie Barta sank two free throws for the Crimson with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Rhode Island’s Davida Dale missed a layup with four seconds remaining, sending this one to overtime. In the extra frame, two Lola Mullaney free throws put Harvard up by four points with 17 seconds left. Rhode Island’s ensuing possession included three missed shots before Mullaney pulled down a defensive rebound with three seconds left to seal the deal. Mullaney was one of four Crimson players in double-figure scoring. The others were Jeannie Boehm, Mackenzie Barta and Maggie McCarthy. All four played well on the boards as well, with Boehm missing out on a double-double by one rebound.

Syracuse Orange over Florida State Seminoles, 90-89 (OT)

Emily Engstler was the hero in this one after the Orange advanced the ball with a timeout at 0.8 seconds remaining. FSU had a defensive lapse that allowed Engstler to sneak closer to the basket completely unguarded. She took the in-bounds pass and laid it in off the glass at the buzzer. Kiah Gillespie, who led the Seminoles with 27 points and 12 rebounds, made a layup with under a second to go on the previous possession in overtime. The game wouldn’t have gone to the extra frame if not for Digna Strautmane’s triple with two seconds left in the fourth. Kiara Lewis led Syracuse with 21 points as the Orange handed FSU its first loss of the season.

Western Illinois Leathernecks over North Dakota State Bison, 79-78 (2OT)

Sam Pryor made the game-winning 3-pointer for Western Illinois with 13 seconds to go in the second overtime period. A missed free throw by Emily Dietz on the previous possession kept the Bison lead at two. But the Leathernecks went for the long range shot anyway and avoided a third overtime. Pryor also made the shot to send the game to its second overtime with a second left on the clock. In regulation, it was Dietz who scored in the paint with four seconds left to force overtime. Olivia Kaufmann led the winners with 19 points and 10 boards, while Dietz notched a game-high 24 points in defeat.

Best upcoming matchup

No. 6 Baylor (11-1, 1-0 Big 12) at No. 1 UConn (12-0, 3-0 AAC)

When: Thursday, Jan 9, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: XL Center in Hartford, CT

How to watch/listen: ESPN/Baylor All-Access or Huskies All-Access