Jan. 3, 2009
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University women's basketball team dropped their final non-conference game of the season, falling to Chicago State, 76-68, Saturday at the Convocation Center.
"We really wanted this game, but I don't think we played like we wanted it," NIU head coach Carol Owens said. "We started to settle down in the second half and gained some momentum, then we let them back in the game. I felt defensively, we didn't do our job in man-to-man or zone. We need to figure that out and start getting better heading into conference play."
Chicago State (8-7) shot 66.7 percent from the field in the second half and 52.1 percent for the game, and had three players finish in double figures with Alyssa Waldon leading all scorers with 24 points to push past the Huskies. Northern Illinois (5-8) shot 42.4 percent from the floor and had four players end the game in double figures with Ebony Ellis (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Township) leading the Huskies with a career-high 18 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Cougars hot shooting in the second half.
"I didn't think Ebony started the game out that well," Owens said. "When she knew we needed her, she started to come along and hit some inside shots for us and got some big rebounds for us."
The Huskies played well in the first half. After falling behind, 26-19 with 5:11 left to play in the half, NIU went on an 11-2 run to take a 30-28 lead with 39 seconds to intermission and went into halftime with a 31-30 lead. NIU opened the second half strong, building a 37-32 lead with 18 minutes left in the game.
The Cougars responded when Chicago State's Courtney Waldon hit a three with 14:44 left to play to tie the game at 39. CSU then went on a 9-1 run to take 48-40 lead with 12:01 left to play. Chicago State pushed its lead to 13, 60-47, with 7:26 left in the game.
Courtney Waldon finished with 14 points, while Jasmin Dixon was the other Cougar to score in double figures with 19 points. Aileen Rossouw (Plano, Texas/Plano) finished with a season-best 13, Kylie York (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) added 11 and Shari' Welton (Calumet City, Ill./Thornwood) finished with 10.
The Huskies will be back in action Wednesday, Jan. 7 when NIU travels to Mt. Pleasant, Mich. to open Mid-American Conference play against the Chippewas of Central Michigan. Tip off is set for 6 p.m. CST. Fans can follow all the action with Bill Baker on 1360 AM WLBK.