Michael Benson: February 2012 Archives

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Seven NIU teams were in action during the past week, including track & field excelling at the MAC Indoor Championships and men's tennis winning eight-straight on their home court.

Men's Basketball: Northern Illinois dropped two MAC West road games during the week, but hung close in both instances. On Wednesday, the Huskies led division-leading Eastern Michigan by 13 half way through the second half, but the Eagles stormed back to take a 48-45 victory in Ypsilanti. NIU returned to Michigan Sunday to face Central Michigan, where they lost 74-64 despite Abdel Nader's 24 points.

Women's Basketball: The Huskies struggled in two road games during the week, falling at Central Michigan and Toledo. NIU headed to Mt. Pleasant Wednesday, but cold shooting doomed NIU in a 73-50 loss to the Chippewas. Northern followed that up with another offensive setback in a 49-39 defeat to the Rockets.

Gymnastics: Northern Illinois seniors Shonda Clore, Ashley Guerra and Tanya Rachan provided eight great routines on Senior Day to lead the Huskie gymnastics team to its second-highest overall score of 2012, but it was not enough to overcome Central Michigan as NIU dropped a dual meet to the Chippewas, 194.950-193.925, Sunday at the NIU Convocation Center.

Track & Field: Chanel Kellyman and Megan Gregory each won conference titles Saturday at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships, helping the Northern Illinois track & field team to their best indoor conference finish as a member of the MAC. The Huskies' 48 team points earned them a seventh place finish in the final standings, topping host Akron by ten points. Additionally, Kellyman (60 meters) and Gregory (60 hurdles) - who earned all-MAC first team honors for their performances - became the first individual indoor MAC champions in NIU track & field history, while NIU broke school records in six different events at the meet.

Baseball: The Huskies' offense improved, but NIU dropped their first three games at the Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic in Lubbock, Texas. Northern fell behind early against No. 18 St. John's, but came back to force extras before the Red Storm belted a walk-off home run to win, 11-9. Later on Saturday, NIU took an early lead against host Texas Tech, but fell 8-5 to the Red Raiders. The Huskies got out to a 3-0 lead Sunday night against TTU, but lost again, 10-4.

Men's Tennis: The Huskies extended their home winning streak to eight matches Saturday with a pair of 7-0 sweeps against Dayton and Western Illinois. However, that streak came to an end Sunday afternoon when Cleveland State upended NIU, 5-2.

Women's Tennis: Northern Illinois dropped two matches in Carbondale, Ill., during the weekend. The Huskies were swept Saturday by Arkansas State, 7-0. On Sunday, they were upended by Southern Illinois, 5-2.

Northern Illinois closes out February and kicks off March this week with eight teams in action. Among the games are women's basketball Senior Day Tuesday vs. Western Michigan, men's basketball Senior Day vs. Toledo, men's tennis hosting Southern Illinois and Eastern Illinois Saturday in Rockford and women's tennis welcoming Milwaukee to the Boylan Tennis Center.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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It was another chock full week of Huskie action, with nine teams in action both in DeKalb and on the road.

Men's Basketball: The Huskies returned to MAC West play and stepped out for a non-conference matchup this week, but suffered a pair of losses. Playing in the Convo Wednesday night, NIU dropped a 78-63 decision to Western Michigan as Tony Nixon scored a season-high 12 points for Northern. The Huskies stepped out of conference play Saturday for a BracketBuster game at SIU-Edwardsville. Despite 12 points each from Abdel Nader and Nixon, the Cougars drilled a last-second shot to defeat NIU, 64-62.

Women's Basketball: Northern Illinois split a pair of MAC West games at home during the week to start on the regular season home stretch. NIU evened their record to 12-12 overall and 6-6 in the MAC with a 58-44 win against Ball State, with Claire Jakubicek leading the way with 17 points. That momentum did not last for the Huskies, though, as they dropped a 77-57 game to Eastern Michigan. Kim Davis led the way with 26 points.

Wrestling: The Huskies closed out their 2011-12 regular season Saturday with a 23-14 loss to Buffalo. Shawn Fayette (149), Brad Dieckhaus (184), Mike Lukowski (197) and Jared Torrence (285) each won matches on Senior Day, but Buffalo's six wins - including a pin and two major decisions - were too much to overcome.

Gymnastics: Northern Illinois came up with its second-highest score of the 2012 season but it was not enough to overcome a strong performance by Mid-American Conference powerhouse Kent State Sunday as the Huskies fell 195.525-193.625.

Track & Field: The Northern Illinois track & field team ended their 2011-12 indoor regular season with an impressive showing at the Ball State Quadrangular, as they captured three event titles and broke two school records en route to a second-place finish. Janay Mitchell Broke the school's 60 meters record for the third time this season with a time of 7.54, while Roneisha Frye eclipsed the 60 hurdles record with a run of 8.59.

Baseball: Northern Illinois opened their 2012 season at Tennessee, but were swept by the Volunteers in the three-game set. The Huskie bats went silent in the first game, only scoring one run in a 7-1 defeat. They would get more run support in a Saturday doubleheader, but dropped both games to the Vols, 10-5 and 7-2.

Softball: The Huskies dropped all three games in a rain-soaked weekend in North Texas to fall to 3-5 on the season. NIU lost their tournament opener to Creighton, 5-4, in eight innings Friday morning, then were bested, 8-3, by the host Mean Green. After Saturday's action was rained out, NIU could not get timely hitting in a 5-1 loss to Creighton Sunday.

Men's Tennis: The Huskies improved to 6-0 at home this year with a pair of wins against Valparaiso and IUPUI. NIU began the day with a 6-1 win over the Crusaders, then folloowed that up with a 5-2 defeat of the Jaguars.

Men's Golf: Northern Illinois opened their 2012 spring season in Dade City, Fla., where they took third place at the MAC Match Play tournament. After a convincing 4-2 win over Ohio in the opening round, the Huskies nearly knocked off top-seeded Ball State in the semifinals, but fell 3.5-2.5. NIU would rally in the third place match, though, with a 4.5-1.5 win against Miami (Ohio).

Another busy week awaits the Huskies with seven teams in action. Among them, only men's tennis and gymnastics are at home. the men's tennis squad looks keep their perfect home record intact Saturday against Dayton and Western Illinois, then Sunday versus Cleveland State. Meanwhile, gymnastics hosts Central Michigan Sunday in DeKalb.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Eight Huskie teams were in action during the week, including softball kicking off their 2012 season in Louisiana.

Men's Basketball: Northern Illinois wrapped up divisional crossover play with a split of their two games. The Huskies used Tyler Storm's career-best 17 points and a strong defensive effort on the boards Wednesday to knock off Miami (Ohio), 62-59, inside the Convocation Center. On Saturday, though, Northern was unable to hang with MAC leader Akron in a 75-51 defeat. Keith Gray paced NIU with 13 points.

Women's Basketball: The Huskies had a light week on the hardwood with only one game on the schedule. However, they grabbed a huge win on the road with a 70-58 win against Miami (Ohio). Courtney Shelton led NIU with 13 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.

Wrestling: Northern Illinois returned to the .500 mark Sunday with a pair of dominating wins against Tiffin and SIU-Edwardsville. The Huskies began the day with a 42-0 shutout of the Dragons to earn their second shutout of the year. NIU would nearly repeat that performance in the last dual of the day with a 34-8 victory against the in-state rival Cougars.

Gymnastics: Northern Illinois hit all 24 of its routines en route to its seventh-best team score ever and a 194.775-193.975 victory over Bowling Green Saturday at Anderson Arena.

The victory lifted NIU's record to 3-3 overall, 2-1 in the Mid-American Conference, while Bowling Green fell to 1-8, 0-3.

Track & Field: It was a record-setting weekend for the Huskies, as two school records fell and a third was tied at the Iowa State Classic. NIU's 4x400 relay of Chanel Kellyman, Jenelle McCalla, Julianne Cronin and Rebecca Cronin demolished the school mark with a time of 3:47.74 - breaking the former record by nearly two seconds. In addition, Jenner Sio surpassed the triple jump record with a 39-01.00 leap, while Kellyman tied the NIU 200 meter record with a run of 24.52.

Softball: Northern Illinois opened their season with a 3-2 performance over the weekend at Southeastern Louisiana. The Huskies won both of their rain-soaked Friday games with an 8-4 win over Southern and a 9-8 triumph against Nicholls State. NIU split their Saturday slate, falling 10-2 to Troy and defeating UT-Martin, 7-5. The team would fall in their tournament finale to the host Lions, 10-2.

Men's Tennis: NIU went 2-1 during the weekend to improve to 4-2 on the year. On Friday, the Huskies defeated SIU-Edwardsville and IPFW by identical 6-1 scores inside the Boylan Tennis Center. Northern hit the road Sunday to face No. 70 Drake, where they lost, 7-0, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Women's Tennis: The Huskies continued its fantastic start to the season Sunday by defeating Eastern Illinois, 6-1, at the Boylan Tennis Center. The 5-2 mark by the Huskies is the best start for the team in nearly a decade.

NIU's busy month continues this week when men's golf and baseball both tee off on their respective seasons. Men's golf is in Dade City, Fla., for the MAC Match Play tournament, while baseball has a three-game weekend series at Tennessee. Additionally, men's basketball host Western Michigan Wednesday and women's basketball hosts Ball State Thursday and Eastern Michigan Saturday, along with wrestling taking on Buffalo Saturday in Victor E. Court and men's tennis battling Valparaiso and IUPUI Friday in Rockford.

UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S CLUB HELPS NIU TRACK & FIELD

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Teaberry_UWC.JPGThe Northern Illinois University Women's Club presented NIU Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Connie Teaberry with a $1,000 check to support the women's track & field and cross country program. The donation will go toward the purchase of additional equipment for the track & field team in preparation for their upcoming outdoor season.
 
The University Women's Club has given similar monetary gifts to other NIU women's sports programs in the past for the purchase of team uniforms or equipment. The UWC also presents academic scholarships to NIU women students each year to assist them in meeting the financial needs for their education.

On behalf of Huskie Athletics and NIU Track & Field, THANK YOU, University Women's Club!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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Northern Illinois kicked off a busy month of February with sex teams in action, as the transition between the winter and spring seasons gets into full force.

Men's Basketball: The Huskies continued to struggle in division crossover play during the week, as they fell to Ohio and Bowling Green. Despite only trailing by one at the half Wednesday, NIU failed to pull off a major upset against the Bobcats, falling 67-58 in DeKalb, despite Antoine Christian's season-high 15 points. In Bowling Green Saturday, Northern was doomed by a slow start offensively, falling behind by 25 at the half en route to a 65-40 loss to the Falcons.

Women's Basketball: NIU split their games during the week and have now won four of their last six games. Facing conference leader Bowling Green on Wednesday, the Huskies hung close to the Falcons, but couldn't get over the hump in a 57-47 defeat. Claire Jakubicek paced the NIU offense with 17 points in the loss. Northern rebounded Saturday against Ohio with a 50-46 win in DeKalb. Jakubicek led NIU with 16 points to help the Huskies avenge last season's MAC Tournament loss.

Wrestling: Northern Illinois dropped its fourth-straight dual match Friday, losing 24-18 at No. 19 Northwestern. Trailing 24-3 last in the match, the Huskies rallied with three straight wins - including pins by Brad Dieckhaus and Jared Torrence - in the final three matches. However, that comeback was a case of too little, too late for the NIU.

Gymnastics: Northern Illinois posted its top scores of the season on vault, balance beam and floor exercise and overcame a 1.225 point deficit in the final half of the meet to defeat Ball State, 192.925-191.125 Saturday in Victor E. Court. NIU claimed its first Mid-American Conference victory and first home win of the season to improve to 2-3 overall, 1-1 in the MAC. Ball State fell to 1-4, 0-3.

Men's Tennis: The Huskies traveled to Bloomington, Ind., Sunday for a matchup with No. 27 Indiana, but were defeated, 7-0, by the Hoosiers. Despite strong play from several Huskies, NIU failed to win a match on the day.

Women's Tennis: NIU went 2-1 for the second-straight weekend as they defeated North Dakota and Bradley to improve to 4-2 on the season. After falling to Northern Iowa, 6-1, on Friday, The Huskies rebounded with a 6-1 victory over North Dakota in Waterloo, Iowa. The team capped off their weekend in Peoria, Ill., where they swept in-state rival Bradley, 7-0.

The Huskies continue into February with a week chock full of competition both in DeKalb and on the road. Softball opens their 2012 season on the road at the Southeastern Louisiana Tournament, while men's basketball (Wednesday vs. Miami [OH]), men's tennis (Friday vs. IPFW and SIU-Edwardsville), wrestling (Sunday vs. SIU-Edwardsville and Tiffin) and women's tennis (Sunday vs. Eastern Illinois) are all at home.
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