The Northwestern women’s basketball team hosted the Briar Cliff Chargers at a packed Bultman Center on Wednesday night. A strong finish to a close game meant the Raiders ran out victors on the night, winning 87-75. The win meant the No. 9 Raiders improved their GPAC record to 9-4 and 15-5 overall. The win moved them up in the GPAC standings to joint-third with No. 7 Briar Cliff.
The Raiders started the game slowly but did well to stay within striking distance of the Chargers. Briar Cliff was playing the less-sloppy basketball in the first half. After going on a 13-3 scoring run, the Raiders led the scoreboard 17-12 for a brief period until the Chargers went on a 10-5 scoring run of their own to take a 37-32 lead into the break.
The Raiders came out much stronger in the second half and tied the game once again. A three-pointer by junior NW guard Alli Dunkelberger triggered consecutive good plays both offensively and defensively by the Raiders to tie the game at 39-39. The lead then switched back and forth between the Raiders and Chargers for the remainder of the game, with 17 ties and 15 lead changes throughout.
The two teams then continued to match each other score for score over the next five minutes, with the game being tied six more times during the period until the game was tied at 58 each. The Raiders then scored the next seven points before the Chargers responded with a 10-2 run of their own.
The Raiders took advantage of their opponent’s leading scorer fouling out, going on a decisive 9-0 run over the next four minutes to gain a 78-72 lead with under a minute left to play.
The game then became chippy, with the Chargers employing pressure tactics by fouling and forcing the Raiders to take free throws. The Raiders were more than a match for these tactics, making six consecutive free throws and stopping the Chargers from making a single field goal in the final 4:30. They ended the game with a comfortable 12-point lead.
The Raiders had five players finish the game in double figures, led by sophomore Karen Hutson who had an outstanding game on the night. She topped off a career-high 23 points with seven rebounds and three assists. Senior post Kendra De Jong earned her fifth double-double of the season with 17 points and 18 rebounds.
The Raiders look to continue their roll in their next game as they face the Hastings Broncos at 2 p.m. Saturday, in Hastings, Neb.