Nov. 28, 2009
Box Score in PDF Format
DeKALB - Marke Freeman scored a career-high 26 points, but it wasn't enough to lift Northern Illinois past No. 15 DePaul, Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
"This is a BIG EAST team, a ranked team, and I think we've played at times as good as anybody has played against them all year," NIU head coach Carol Owens said.
The Blue Demons improved to 5-1 on the year with the 78-67 win over the Huskies, who fell to 3-3 on the season. DePaul used a balanced scoring attack that saw five players reach double-figures and scored 27 points off turnovers to down NIU.
The Huskies got off to their best start of the season, leaping to a 13-2 lead in the first three minutes of the game. Northern Illinois had four players score in the opening burst, including senior Kylie York (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern), who knocked down one of five three-pointers on the day. DePaul clawed back into the game over the next seven minutes, finally tying the contest at 23 at the 10:00 mark.
The teams would exchange leads six times over the rest of the half, with DePaul entering the locker room with a 35-33 advantage. NIU hit 4-of-6 three-pointers in the first half, all from the hands of York, and the Huskies shot 50 percent from the field (12-of-24) in the period.
A three-pointer by Freeman (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) opened the second half and gave the Huskies a 36-35 lead. The teams exchanged baskets as DePaul's Keisha Hampton scored, but Mauvolyene Adams answered to put NIU on top 38-37. The Blue Demons retaliated by scoring the game's next seven points, and never again relinquished the lead.
Freeman eclipsed her previous career high of 21, set in the season-opener against Bradley. The junior hit 10-of-19 shots and collected five rebounds and four steals in one of the best games of her career.
"We wanted (Freeman) to pick up the tempo and the team respects her so much that her energy was contagious tonight," Owens said.
York's five three-pointers move her to within five of tying former Huskie great Denise Dove for the most threes made in NIU history.
The Huskies outrebounded DePaul 35-30, and held a 12-9 advantage on the offensive glass.
"We got 12 offensive rebounds, and I think we could have gotten more," Owens said. "We felt like in order to have a chance in this game we had to rebound with them."
The Huskies return to the hardwood Wednesday for a matinee with Northern Iowa. Tip-off is set for noon, and tickets are available by calling (815) 752-6800 or logging on to www.niuhuskies.com.