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Lindsey Pulliam and Northwestern find some rhythm in blowout of Illinois

EVANSTON, Illinois — Northwestern last took took on its in-state rival eleven months ago. When the final buzzer sounded, the Wildcats were Big Ten regular season champions and destined for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, a moment head coach Joe McKeown looked upon fondly after his squad dismantled the Fighting Illini 73-54 Thursday night.

NU’s fight to repeat as conference champions has had some bumps along the way. A lack of size in the front court and some lower shooting numbers underscore that this team isn’t built like the one that went 26-4, but in its first game against the Illini since that monumental afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena, No.