EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Veronica Burton scored 21 points, Lindsey Pulliam added 18 and No. 17 Northwestern opened its season with a 93-57 rout against Eastern Illinois on Thursday night.
Burton and Pulliam are returning starters for the Wildcats, who finished last season 26-4 and won a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year Joe McKeown returns for his 13th season with Northwestern (1-0).
Burton, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, was 8-of-12 shooting from the field and had six assists and five steals. Pulliam made 6 of 11 field goals and is on the Naismith Trophy watch list after averaging 18.8 points last season. The duo each made two of Northwestern’s five 3-pointers against Eastern Illinois (2-3).
Sydney Wood had 14 points for the Wildcats, who shot 53% (34 of 64) from the field. Courtney Shaw added 13 points and Jordan Hamilton had 11.
Morgan Litwiller scored 13 points to lead Eastern Illinois.
The Wildcats outscored the Panthers 26-6 in the second quarter and led 53-24 at halftime.
Northwestern is scheduled to open conference play against Minnesota at home on Monday. The Wildcats had their originally scheduled opener with Bradley canceled.
Northwestern is 13-0 in the series, last winning 74-40 at home in Dec. 2017.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25