Feb. 27, 2008
NIU 67, WMU 65
DEKALB, Ill.-It its first game back since the tragic events of February 14th, the Northern Illinois University women's basketball team posted one of its biggest wins of the season, defeating MAC West leader Western Michigan, 67-65, in the Convocation Center.
"This was a great win for the Huskies. I would say it was a huge win," NIU head coach Carol Owens said. "It has been a long week and a half. Our team has certainly persevered and been resilient throughout this time. Obviously, we were ready to play, we were anxious to start competing again. It's what they do, it's what they have done since they were little girls.
"The start was very emotional. It was hard to fight back the tears. I grabbed our team and said we had to fight for 40 minutes. I was very emotional this game. I feel like we've taken on the whole NIU family. It was a sign of relief [to win], I'm happy that we were ready and was anxious to play.
Down 65-64 with 29 second left to play, NIU guard Jessie Wilcox (Oshkosh, Wis./West) hit a jump shot in the lane to give the Huskies a 66-65 lead with 16 seconds left. Western Michigan's (12-16, 9-5) Tiera DeLaHoussaye turned the ball over on the ensuing possession. The Broncos promptly fouled Whitney Lowe (Bushnell, Ill./Prairie City) sending the MAC's fourth-best free throw shooter to the line.
Lowe made the first free throw, but missed the second, to give NIU (10-14, 6-5) a 67-65 lead. Freshman Mauvolyene Adams (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) came up with probably the biggest rebound of the game, collecting Lowe's second missed free throw. Adams was quickly fouled. She missed her attempt, giving the Broncos five seconds to come up with a shot at tying or taking the lead. Western Michigan was unable to get off a shot before the horn sounded and the Huskies walked away with the victory.
Lowe finished the game with a double-double, scoring a game-high 22 points and grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. She was 7-14 from the field, 4-7 from three-point territory and 4-6 from the free throw line. It was the second-straight game Lowe finished with a double-double. She had 20 points and 10 rebounds against Kent State two weeks ago.
"You feel so much better at the end of the game after a win even though you are tired and exhausted," Lowe said. "We played unbelievable defense and that's what kept us going. I let my defense control my offense. I work to get other people open and that sets my shots up a lot of times."
Adams had an impressive game for the Huskies, scoring 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Kylie York (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) also finished in double digits, scoring 11 points, going 4-9 from the field and 3-8 from beyond the arc.
The Huskies won the game on the boards, outrebounding the Broncos, 48-31. NIU had 20 second-chance points to the Broncos six. The NIU bench came up big as well turning in 19 points.
"The bottom line is we were out-rebounded and that was the key," said Western Michigan head coach Ron Stewart. "We're also the best free-throw shooting team in the conference, but not tonight. We broke down defensively in the middle of the second half and gave up some wide-open looks down the middle. We fixed that late in the half."
NIU will be home again Saturday, March 1 when the Huskies welcome Eastern Michigan to the Convocation Center. Fans can follow all the action with Bill Baker on 1360-AM WLBK. The game will also be broadcast locally on Comcast SportsNet. Tip off is set for 11 a.m.