Nov. 17, 2009
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DeKALB - The Northern Illinois women's basketball team lost for the first time this season, falling in a 50-48 decision to Western Illinois, Tuesday night at the Convocation Center.
In a game that saw 10 ties and 11 lead changes, the Leathernecks (1-1) took the lead with 1:13 remaining on an Erica Lewis layup and held off the Huskies (1-1) to escape DeKalb with a win.
Junior Mauvolyene Adams (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) tallied her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Fellow junior Ebony Ellis (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Township) led the Huskies in scoring for the second straight game with 14 points, despite seeing limited time due to foul trouble.
Northern Illinois hit just 1-of-15 shots from the three-point line in a game where just one more make could have tipped the balance in the Huskies' favor. NIU head coach Carol Owens was confident that those same attempts will be true in the future.
"The shots we missed were good shots," she said. "We'll hit them."
The closed rim on three-pointers weighted NIU to a 36.7 percent (18-of-49) performance from the field. The Huskies claimed nearly one-quarter of their point total at the free throw line, hitting 11-of-15.
"When we aren't scoring well, we have to play smarter and we have to outwork people to get some of those garbage points," Owens said.
On the positive side, NIU paired the tough shooting night with tough defense, holding Western Illinois to 29.7 percent shooting (19-of-64) from the field and 16.7 percent (3-of-18) from beyond the arc. The defensive outing was the best in terms of field goal percentage since Dec. 7 of last season, when NIU held Northern Iowa to just 22 percent shooting (11-of-50) in a 58-46 win.
The Huskies outscored the Leathernecks in the paint 30-24 and won the battle of the boards, collecting 42 rebounds, four better than Western Illinois. But WIU's second chance points and buckets off turnovers hurt Owen's squad, as the Leathernecks totaled 27 points from offensive rebounds and Huskie miscues.
Northern Illinois will try to bounce back Thursday night, when they face IUPUI at 6 p.m. (CST). The game can be heard live on WLBK 1360-AM (DeKalb) and through Huskie All-Access at www.niuhuskies.com.