Feb. 14, 2009
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BUFFALO - The Northern Illinois University women's basketball team's free throw shooting down the stretch helped propel the Huskies to a 70-63 victory over MAC East opponent Buffalo at Alumni Arena Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies made 23-of-28 from the charity stripe, including 15 straight free throws in the last four minutes and played solid defense in the second half to seal the victory.
"We didn't shoot particularly well," NIU head coach Carol Owens said. "We started out pretty slow, but regained our ways in the second half. Down the stretch, we didn't have to necessarily shoot very well to win the game. I think we learned from the Kent State game."
Down 38-30 with 17:15 left to play NIU (13-11, 8-3) went on a 14-2 run to take a 44-40 lead with 13 minutes left to play. Aileen Rossouw (Plano, Texas/Plano) hit four straight free throws to spark the run and Ebony Ellis (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Township) kept it going when she scored her first points of the game with a bucket with 16:25 left in the game. A Marke Freeman (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) hit a key three-pointer and closed out the Huskie outburst.
Buffalo (5-19, 1-10) would not go away. A three-pointer from the Bulls Jamie Schiebner pulled Buffalo to within one, 48-47, with 8:35 left to play and a pair of free throws from Kourtney Brown gave the Bulls a 49-49 lead eight minutes left in the game. Beth Christensen hit a three and then a runner in the lane to give Buffalo a 54-50 lead with 6:32 left.
With NIU trailing 54-52 with 4:07 left to play, Rossouw began a string of 15 straight made free throws for the Huskies when she hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 54. Down one, with 3:42 left Freeman made both of her threes to give NIU a 56-55 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.
Northern Illinois struggled offensively early in the game, missing its first seven shots. Mauvolyene Adams (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) ended the scoring drought with a bucket at 15:08 mark in the first half. Buffalo jumped out to a 14-4 lead when Rachelle Matthys connected on a three pointer. Another Matthys' three gave the Bulls a 17-7 lead.
NIU joined the three-point shooting contest, hitting three straight treys. Kylie York (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) started the 9-0 run when she nailed a three with 10:51 left in the half. A three from Aileen Rossouw in the corner and another by York cut the Huskie deficit to one, 17-16, with 9:43 left in the half.
York gave NIU its first lead of the game when she nailed a three-pointer with 6:47 left in the first half, putting the Huskies up 23-21. It became a see-saw affair from then on. There were five lead changes and a tie in the final six minutes of the half, with the Bulls taking a 33-30 lead into the break.
Adams led the way for NIU with 16 points and nine rebounds. She was one of four Huskies to finish in double figures. Freeman finished with 15 points, going 3-of-10 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Rossouw finished in double figures with 13 points, while York ended with 11.
The Huskies return to the court Saturday, when Northern Illinois travels to Ypsilanti, Mich. to face the Eagles of Eastern Michigan. Tip-off time is 1 p.m.