Northwestern University students and fans react in 2017. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Northwestern women’s hoops opens new arena with upset of No. 21 Duke

SHARE Northwestern women’s hoops opens new arena with upset of No. 21 Duke
SHARE Northwestern women’s hoops opens new arena with upset of No. 21 Duke

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Lindsey Pulliam scored 21 points and Passas Kunaiyi-Akpanah finished with a double-double to power Northwestern to an 84-58 victory over No. 21 Duke in the Blue Devils season opener on Sunday.

Pulliam made just 6 of 21 shots from the floor, but made all eight of her free-throw attempts and added five rebounds and four assists for the Wildcats, who were playing their first regular-season game at the new Welsh-Ryan Arena. Kunaiyi-Akpanah, who averaged just less than 12 rebounds per game last season, had 17 with 11 points. Jordan Hamilton hit three 3-pointers on her way to 18 points and Abi Scheid scored 18 on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor.

The Wildcats (2-0), who outscored Duke in every quarter, grabbed a 3-0 lead 12 seconds into the game on Scheid’s 3-pointer and led the rest of the way. The Blue Devils used a 6-0 spurt to pull within 64-54 with 5:56 left to play, but Northwestern answered with an 18-0 run to put the finishing touches on the upset.

Leaonna Odom topped the Blue Devils with 14 points and 14 rebounds, but she had eight of Duke’s 24 turnovers. Reserve Rayah Craig hit 5 of 8 shots and scored 13, while Haley Gorecki scored 10 but hit just 2 of 11 from 3-point range.

It was the first time Northwestern squared off against Duke in Wildcats coach Joe McKeown’s 11 seasons at the helm.

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