Burton leads No. 22 Northwestern women past Penn State

Veronica Burton scored 19 points and had five steals as the 22nd-ranked Northwestern Wildcats defeated Penn State 67-50 on Sunday, picking up a third-straight win.

Burton was among three Wildcats to score in double figures as Linsey Pulliam added 17 and Sydney Wood 13. Pulliam also pulled down eight rebounds and had four assists with three steals. Wood added seven boards and three steals

The absence of Penn State’s leading scorer Kelly Jekot (15.9 ppg) was immediately apparent as the Lady Lions made three of seven shots in the first quarter and were 5-for-21 shooting by halftime, when they trailed 32-18.

Jekot, a senior guard, suffered an injury in practice during the week and is out for the season, according to the school.

Northwestern (7-2, 5-2 Big Ten Conference) put pressure on Penn State’s shuffled lineup, contesting passes and inbounds plays. The Wildcats tied a season high with 17 steals.

Jordan Hamilton tied a career high with five steals. Penn State was harassed into committing 27 turnovers, which Northwestern converted into 24 points.

Penn State’s (4-6, 1-5) Makenna Marisa was the first Lady Lion to reach double figures when a 3-pointer gave her 10 points with less than two minutes to go in the third quarter. Marisa finished with 12 points, Johnasia Cash scored 14.

All the turnovers helped Northwestern score 22 points on the fast break and the Wildcats also controlled the paint 42-20.

The Wildcats ended the second quarter on an 11-2 run and carried a double-digit lead throughout the second half.

Northwestern plays host to Illinois on Jan. 21. Penn State visits Rutgers on Thursday.