Huskies Drop Exhibition to Indiana Wesleyan, 61-52
Nov. 8, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. - In its lone exhibition contest of the 2011-12 season, the Northern Illinois women's basketball team fell to NAIA powerhouse Indiana Wesleyan 61-52 Tuesday night at the NIU Convocation Center.
Helping the Wildcats, who had already played two regular season games and had two wins to build on, was a terrific performance from beyond the arc. IWU went 9-for-14 on three-pointers, while the Huskies were 2-for-11.
Indiana Wesleyan's three-point display was the main difference in the game as the Huskies piled up an 18-for-23 effort from the free-throw line, compared to IWU's 10-for-13 night. NIU also held a sizeable edge in rebounding (43-27), especially on the offensive glass (16-0).
At halftime, the Huskies held a 24-22 lead as they held the Wildcats to a 36.4 shooting percentage. NIU came out of the gate with solid defense, forcing two turnovers and an early timeout before IWU got on the board at the 15:41 mark.
Down 22-18 late in the first half, NIU finished strong as Ashley Sneed (Harvey, Ill./Thornton) set up a layup for Shaakira Haywood (Canton, Mich./Plymouth) with 2:43 remaining. Then Danny Pulliam (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) gave NIU the lead with back-to-back jumpers in the last 40 seconds after a pair of IWU turnovers.
The second half, however, is when the Wildcats picked up their play as they shot 56.5 percent in the half and held the Huskies to 25 percent shooting. Right out of the gate, IWU received a layup and three-pointer from Claire Freeman to take a 27-24 lead at the 18:54 mark.
Several minutes later, Brittney Callahan (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) put the Huskies ahead 33-30 with a three from the left wing. But the Wildcats answered back on the next possession with an Ashley Brooks trey, and then added a three-point play by Stephanie Burtch.
Trailing by just two points, 43-41, with 9:33 remaining in the game, NIU could not hold up against IWU's 15-7 run over the next six-plus minutes. Krystal Stoneking capped the run with a jumper from the top of the key to give the Wildcats their largest lead of the game, 58-48.
Pulliam paced all scorers in the game with a career-high 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting and was 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Kim Davis (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township), NIU's top returning scorer and rebounder, also scored in double digits with 11, most of which came from a solid 9-for-11 performance from the free throw line.
"Danny was a pleasant surprise," said second year NIU Head Coach Kathi Bennett. "The bottom line is us as a team. For us to win games, our energy, effort, passion and how well we play together has to be there.
"We have to start playing better together. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. We have to get better defensively and with our energy. That will be our focus the next three days."
The Huskies open the regular season Sunday, Nov. 13, at 1 PM CT on the road against Loyola Chicago. NIU's first home game is Nov. 16 versus Western Illinois at 7 PM. Single game tickets and season ticket packages are available by visiting NIUHuskies.com/tickets or calling the NIU Ticket Office at 815-753-6800.
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