Lauryn Satterwhite’s offensive momentum propels Wildcats to victory

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With a six-point lead, senior guard Veronica Burton grabbed the defensive rebound and made a quick run to the other end of the field. Having numbers, she passed the ball to wide-open graduate guard Lauryn Satterwhite for a bucket beyond the arc.

The three-point jumper gave Satterwhite a total of 14 points – nearly matching his career season high for points in the first 30 minutes of regulation.

Northwestern (16-10, 8-7 Big Ten) defeated Purdue (16-12, 7-10 Big Ten) 68-51 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Thursday’s senior night game celebrated Burton, senior forward Courtney Shaw, senior guard Jess Sancataldo and senior guard Sydney Wood. And yet, Satterwhite — the honorary fifth-year senior — led the way, setting a new career high of 20 points.

“It was great to set a new career high in my last game at Welsh Ryan Arena,” Satterwhite said. “I came back for a reason, and it was precisely to get closer to this (senior) class to experience moments like this.”

By beating the Boilermakers earlier this month, NU aimed to sweep their conference opponents in the final home game of the regular season. Starting strong, NU secured a five-point advantage early in the first quarter thanks to the senior starters. But Purdue recovered, which tested the Cats offense.

After the first quarter ended with a tight two-point differential, Satterwhite shifted into high gear during the second quarter. With five of five goals from the field and two of two on three-pointers, Satterwhite’s 12 points during the period boosted NU’s momentum in the competition, extending the lead to almost double digits.

Coach Joe McKeown said Satterwhite’s return for his fifth year has been central to the team’s success this season. Almost closing in on his career high before halftime, Satterwhite’s versatility and reach on the court caused problems for Purdue.

“Here she is, senior night twice, and she had one of her best games,” McKeown said.

Although she started the third quarter coldly, Satterwhite still played an active role on the field. Being more of a facilitator, she helped get Burton and Shaw back on the scoreboard with pick and roll games. Her presence on the pitch had an impact and helped guide the young players on the pitch to keep their lead.

Then, Satterwhite found his rhythm in the fourth quarter, recording six more points. Setting a career high for the new season with the three-point jumper early in the period, the Arizona native left it all on the field. Burton said Satterwhite has been such a crucial member of this team. She felt Satterwhite’s performance and energy today motivated the team to bring the game home.

His outstanding performance against the Boilermakers was arguably his best game of the season. Thursday’s victory was critical with the end of the regular season and the Big Ten tournament approaching. With Satterwhite an offensive force on the field, the Cats’ chances of going far into the playoffs look high.

“Lauryn brings a lot to this team, on and off the field,” Burton said. “She is the glue of this team and keeps us together.”

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @sswann301

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