Feb. 6, 2013
Final: NIU 73, Ohio 52
ATHENS, Ohio - Northern Illinois used a stellar shooting performance to score a 73-52 win over Ohio on Wednesday night at the Convocation Center in a cross-divisional Mid-American Conference contest. Shooting a season high 59.2 percent from the field (29-for-49) and 66.7 percent on three-pointers (8-for-12), the Huskies (6-16, 1-8 MAC) earned their first conference win of the season and their third straight win in Athens over the Bobcats (5-16, 0-9 MAC).
"It feels good to get a win," said NIU Head Coach Kathi Bennett, who improved to 4-1 all-time against Ohio. "I'm very proud of the team. We had a narrow focus and really played well together. I want to thank my coaching staff - we tried some different things and they kept such a positive attitude. This is the best we've played in a long time. When you move the ball like we did, you will shoot a high percentage."
Four Huskies scored in double figures for the first time all season as the rhythm and movement of the offense was superb, resulting in a season-high-tying 19 assists on 29 field goals. Ashley Sneed (Harvey, Ill./Thornton), who scored a season-high-tying 13 points, got the Huskies started with five quick points for a 7-2 lead early on, and the Huskies never looked back.
The Huskies made five of their first six threes en route to grabbing a 26-13 lead with 7:33 left in the first half. Most of the first half damage on threes came from Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove), who scored all 11 of her points in the game in the half and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from downtown.
By halftime, NIU built a 35-18 lead and established control of the game. The Huskies shot 52.2 percent and 75 percent on threes while holding Ohio to a 29.2 shooting percentage and controlling the glass with a 22-8 rebounding edge. NIU also owned the paint with a 10-2 advantage and received a 15-2 point differential from the bench.
NIU shot even better in the second half, putting up a 65.4 percent rate on field goals. Ohio opened the half with a 9-4 run but Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) quickly put an end to it with a three. Jenna Thorp (Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock) followed with a driving layup and a few minutes later the Huskies had a 20-point lead. NIU's largest lead was 25 points at two different times in the second half as Ohio never seriously threatened the Huskies.
The second half was anchored by Corral's 13 points. For the game, she scored 20, one shy of tying her career high and her first 20-point effort of the season. She was 7-for-14 from the field and hit a career high four threes on six attempts. She also added a career high six assists and tied a career best with four steals.
For the game, the NIU rebounding advantage was 40-17 and 9-2 on the offensive end. Shaakira Haywood (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) led NIU with a career best 10 rebounds. Thorp had eight boards in an all-around solid game - she also added six points and a career-high-tying five assists. NIU's points in the paint domination ended in a 40-22 edge, most of which came from Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone), who netted 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
"We had energy, played hard and stayed locked in all game," Bennett said. "It was a neat feeling to see them battle like they did."
The Huskies continue MAC East Division play at Kent State on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. CT before returning home to take on Bowling Green on Feb. 16.