Women's Basketball: November 2011 Archives

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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The Huskies had much to be thankful for during the Thanksgiving weekend, as football clinched the MAC West title for the second-straight season and volleyball earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Football: The Huskies locked up the MAC West championship Friday at Huskie Stadium with a tough 18-12 win against Eastern Michigan. With the offense struggling, the defense stepped up to the occasion with four sacks of EMU QB Alex Gillett, while limiting the Eagles to 280 yards of total offense. Chandler Harnish gave the Huskies the winning points with a 68-yard scamper late in the third quarter.

Volleyball: Northern Illinois closed out their regular season Saturday afternoon with a commanding 3-0 sweep of the Marquette Golden Eagles. NIU held sizable advantages in hitting percentage (.315-.116), blocks (9-1) and kills (41-34) in the victory, which was their second of the season against MU and fourth against Big East opponents. On Sunday, the team learned they would earn a spot in the 64-team NCAA Tournament, where they will face Miami (Fla.) in the first round.

Men's Basketball: Despite shooting over 50 percent from the field in the second half, Northern Illinois was unable to come away with a win Saturday as they fell to Boise State, 71-57, in Taco Bell Arena. Abdel Nader led NIU with 16 points in the game, while Tony Nixon contributed 11 points in the losing effort. The Huskies held a 33-29 rebounding advantage to the Broncos, but also committed 21 turnovers.

Women's Basketball: The Huskies dropped two games against Missouri Valley Conference foes during the week to drop to 2-3 on the young season. The week started with a 50-45 loss to the Bradley Braves, despite Amanda Corral's three treys and seven rebounds. The struggles continued Saturday afternoon with an 81-62 defeat against Illinois State. Ashley Sneed led NIU with 14 points, but ISU's 52.9 field goal percentage was too much to overcome.

Wrestling: Northern Illinois returned to dual action Saturday in Bloomington, Ind., where they went 2-1 at the 2011 Hoosier Duals. The Huskies began the day with a 22-14 victory against Campbell and a 25-7 thrashing of SIU-Edwardsville. However, they would drop their final match of the day against nationally-ranked Indiana, 22-12. Individually, Nick Smith, Tyler Loethen and Brad Dieckhaus won all three of their matches on the day.

With November ending and December beginning, the Huskies will have a big week of competition. The headliners are both Friday, as Football plays Ohio for the MAC Championship at Detroit's Ford Field and volleyball takes on the Miami Hurricanes in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Meanwhile, men's basketball plays at Utah Valley Monday and hosts Nebraska-Omaha Saturday, women's basketball takes on Southern Illinois Tuesday, and wrestling hosts Purdue in the annual Showcase Meet.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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This past week was one characterized by big games for NIU Athletics. Football took a step closer to their second-straight MAC title, volleyball tried to take home the MAC Tournament championship and men's soccer advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA College Cup.

Football: Northern Illinois trailed by as many as 17 points against the archrival Ball State Cardinals, but an explosive offense and an effective two minute drill helped lift the Huskies to a 41-38 victory over BSU. In the game, Chandler Hanrish set a school record with 519 yards of total offense, while Mathew Sims' two field goals late in the game helped NIU tie then win the Battle for the Bronze Stalk.

Volleyball: For the second straight season, the Huskies came up just short in their quest for the MAC Tournament championship, NIU swept Bowling Green, 3-0, on Friday to advance to the semifinals. There, they took down Ball State, 3-1, to set up a showdown with Central Michigan Sunday afternoon. Yet, it was not meant to be for NIU. After trailing, 2-0, the Huskies stormed back to tie the match a two sets apiece, but the Chippewas would take the decisive fifth set by a 15-11 margin to win the tournament, 3-2.

Men's Basketball: Northern Illinois' struggles continued on the hardwood this week, as the team went 0-3 with two close losses at home and one on the road at Iowa. Monday, NIU nearly pulled off an amazing comeback in the final minutes against Milwaukee, but it was the Panthers who emerged with a 59-57 win. The Huskies then traveled to Iowa City, Iowa, Thursday, where they ran into a hot-shooting Hawkeye team, falling 88-55. The team completed their week at home against Eastern Illinois with a 67-55 loss to the Panthers.

Women's Basketball: The Huskies went two-for-two in DeKalb this week with two exciting wins in the Convocation Center. On Wednesday, NIU went to double overtime against Western Illinois before taking a 91-84 decision against the Leathernecks. In the game, six Huskies scored in double figures. Northern followed that up with an impressive 58-52 win against the Temple Owls, a team that was nationally-ranked a season ago.

Men's Soccer: Northern Illinois' season came to a close this past week in the NCAA College Cup, as the team advanced to the Round of 32 before bowing out. The Huskies opened up their tournament with a bang Thursday with a 3-0 win against Western Illinois in the tournament's opening round. NIU's defense played a major factor in the game, allowing the Leathernecks only one shot on goal the whole 90 minutes. That run, however, came to an abrupt halt on Sunday, as the Creighton Bluejays used their nationally-ranked defensive unit to stop the Huskies, 3-0.

The Huskies' schedule for Thanksgiving week includes a trio of games sandwiched around Turkey Day. On Wednesday, the women's basketball team will welcome Bradley to the Convo for a Thanksgiving Eve tilt at 7 p.m. Then on Friday, football will try to clinch the MAC West championship and a spot in the Marathon MAC Championship game at 10 a.m. when they face the Eagles of Eastern Michigan. The Huskies' Thanksgiving homestand wraps up Saturday afternoon when volleyball takes on BIG EAST power Marquette at 4 p.m. inside Victor E. Court. Additionally, wrestling travels to Bloomington, Ind., for the Hoosier Duals and basketball heads west for a Saturday night game against Boise State.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

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It was a monumental week for Northern Illinois athletics, as the men's soccer team won the MAC Tournament championship - earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament in the process - and the volleyball team won the MAC West Division and regular season titles.

Football: The Huskie offense kept up their offensive momentum Tuesday against Bowling Green with a 45-14 thrashing of the Falcons. Chandler Harnish led the NIU attack with 294 yards passing and 151 on the ground, while the entire offense accumulated 623 total yards on the BGSU defense. On the other side of the line, the Huskie defense shut out the Falcon offense in the second half, limiting them to a measly 90 yards in the last 30 minutes of the game.

Volleyball: Northern Illinois went 2-0 during the week to clinch the 2011 MAC regular season championship and the top seed in this week's MAC Tournament. On Thursday, the team traveled to Kalamazoo, Mich., where they dispatched the Western Michigan Broncos, 3-1, to wrap up the MAC title. The Huskies extended their winning streak to 13 matches Saturday with a hard-fought 3-2 win against Bowling Green.

Men's Basketball: NIU opened their regular season Friday night in West Lafayette, Ind., where they fell to the Purdue Boilermakers, 96-34, in the rededication of Mackey Arena. Tim Toler paced the Huskie offense with 11 points on the night, while Freshman wing Abdel Nader added nine points and freshman forward Kevin Gray grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.

Women's Basketball: The Huskies dropped two games during the week to open their 2011-12 season. Tuesday, the team lost in an exhibition game against Indiana Wesleyan, 61-52, as NIU struggled to find any offense. They followed that up Sunday by dropping a 73-42 decision in Chicago against the Ramblers of Loyola. Ashley Sneed led NIU with a career-high 12 points on the day.

Men's Soccer: Northern Illinois brought home the MAC Tournament championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament over the weekend with a pair of wins in Akron, Ohio. In the semifinals Friday, the Huskies used a Gael Rivera second half goal to get past Buffalo, 1-0, meaning they would face fourth-seeded Western Michigan, who upset top-seed Akron on penalty kicks earlier in the day. Sunday's title match also came down to the wire, but Sean Totsch found the back of the WMU net with 6:40 left in regulation to win, 1-0. NIU's NCAA Tournament opponent will be determined Monday afternoon on NCAA.com.

Wrestling: Northern Illinois put two wrestlers on the podium Saturday at the Michigan State Open, as Nick Smith and Rob Jillard both took top four finishes in East Lansing, Mich. Smith, who was competing less than two hours from his hometown of Ida, Mich., advanced all the way to the finals after winning three matches at 125. However, he would fall in the championship to Northwestern's Levi Mele. Jillard finished fourth at 133 after making it to the semifinals with two dominating wins.

Cross Country: The NIU cross country team closed out their 2011 season Saturday when they hosted the 2011 NCAA Midwest Regional. The team finished 28th behind Courtney Oldenburg's time of 23:21.16 on the 6K NIU North 40 to finish 121st. Further behind the junior was freshman Jamie Burr, who posted a season-best second place showing among Huskie runners with a time of 24:25.02 to take 164th overall.

Northern will have at least one team competing every day this week, including a host of games in DeKalb. Football highlights the week with a Tuesday night showdown against Ball State at Huskie Stadium in the Battle for the Bronze stalk. In addition, men's and women's basketball each have a pair of home games, including a doubleheader Sunday, while men's soccer will learn their opponent for Thursday's first round Monday afternoon. The top-seeded women's volleyball team will head east to Geneva, Ohio, to compete in the MAC Tournament.

A LOOK AT BENNETT'S BASKETBALL JOURNEY

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Bennett.jpgSecond-year NIU women's basketball Head Coach Kathi Bennett has had an interesting journey throughout her 20-plus years of coaching.  Whether it be winning, losing, garnering individual accolades, surviving a nasty car wreck, or keeping her faith with God, the daughter of coaching legend Dick Bennett has nearly seen it all.  The Christian Sports Press recently chronicled Bennett's journey and faith.  Click here to read.

NORTHERN STAR PREVIEWS WOMEN'S HOOPS' BACK COURT

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The Northern Star's Matt Hopkinson takes a look at NIU women's basketball's 2011-12 back court in today's paper.  With All-MAC selection Marke Freeman moving on due to graduation, the Huskies will look to senior Courtney Shelton to solidify a young group of guards.  Click here to read all about it.

MAC WOMEN'S HOOPS PRESEASON PICKS ARE OUT

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Convo Hoops Logo.jpegToday, the Mid-American Conference released its preseason women's basketball picks, as voted on by the league's coaches and select media. The Huskies were tabbed to finish fourth in the West Division, while Toledo was chosen to win the West and the MAC Tournament.  Bowling Green was the choice to claim the East Division.  For the complete picks and to see the Preseason All-MAC Teams, click here.
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