Jan. 6, 2010
Box Score in PDF Format
TOLEDO, Ohio - The Northern Illinois women's basketball team stormed back from a 12 point deficit to take a three point lead, but ultimately fell to Toledo, 71-66, Wednesday at Savage Arena.
The game, both teams' conference opener, saw six lead changes and two ties over the last seven minutes. The Huskies (6-7, 0-1 Mid-American Conference) took their first lead 56-55 with 6:49 left, and led by three points on the strength of an Ebony Ellis (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Township) lay-up with 3:28 remaining.
Toledo (11-3, 1-0 MAC) answered with a 7-0 spurt that included a transition three-pointer by Jessica Williams and a steal followed by lay-up on the fast break by Courtney Ingersoll. The run put the Rockets up four points with 54 seconds remaining, and the favorite to win the MAC West held on for its eighth win in nine games.
The Huskies overcame a poor start, missing their first four shots from the field, committing three fouls and turning the ball over twice in the opening three minutes. The rocky opening allowed the Rockets to jump out to an 8-0 lead. Junior Marke Freeman (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) connected on back-to-back baskets to cut the lead to three, but Toledo built its advantage to as many as 12 in the first half thanks to 55.6 percent shooting from the field.
Northern Illinois fought back and Mauvolyene Adams (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) tied the game at 33 on a jumper, accounting for two of her 16 points. Adams ended the night with her seventh double-double of the season, tying her career high with 12 rebounds. But the Rockets finished the half with a 7-0 run to take a 40-33 lead into halftime.
Toledo was whistled for three fouls in the first, the NIU did not attempt a free throw in the period. The Huskies tallied seven fouls over the opening 20 minutes, sending Toledo to the line eight times in which they totaled five makes.
The Rockets carried the lead through much of the second half, until an 8-1 NIU burst highlighted by a Kylie York (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) three-pointer and capped by Adams' free throws put NIU up for the first time.
Freeman led NIU with 22 points, her third 20-point game of the season, and added a career-high nine assists with six rebounds and five steals. Ellis, who faced double and triple teams much of the night, also landed in double-figures, totaling 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Forward Tanika Mays paced the Rockets with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Melissa Goodall added 16, and Naama Shafir scored 11 to go with five assists, four steals and four assists.
The Huskies return to the Convocation Center for another MAC West showdown against Ball State, Saturday at 3 p.m. Tickets are available online at www.niuhuskies.com or by calling the NIU Ticket Office at (815) 752-6800.