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DEKALB, Ill. – Junior forward Ebony Ellis tallied her 12th career double-double, and fourth of the season, with 18 points and 10 rebounds, lifting the Northern Illinois women’s basketball team (5-6) to a 61-55 win over in-state rival Illinois-Chicago (3-8) at the Convocation Center Tuesday night.
Junior forward Mauvolyene Adams fell just one point short of her second-consecutive double double, scoring nine points to go along with 13 rebounds, and senior guard Kylie York chipped in 10 points to go with three rebounds and three assists.
UIC was led by Shameia Green’s 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting, and Briana Hinkle scored 12 points. The Huskies held a decisive 46-37 rebounding advantage, and dished out 17 assists on 24 field goals. After falling behind by nine points, NIU out-scored the Flames by 16 points over the final 9:16.
NIU came out of the gate firing, jumping out to a 10-4 lead to force UIC into its first timeout less than four minutes into the contest (16:07). The Huskies extended their advantage to double digits, 14-4, after a transition three by York. NIU preserved at least a six-point lead for the ensuing seven minutes, before the Flames began to make their run.
UIC strung together a 10-6 spurt between the 7:55 and 1:59 marks of the opening half, trimming the Huskies’ lead to just two, 26-24. NIU went back up by four (30-26) with 52 seconds remaining in the first stanza after Ebony Ellis drilled two free throws. But the Flames scored the final four points of the half, including a layup following a steal by Taylor Foulks with 24 seconds left to knot the score at 30-30, the first tie of the game. That was the score entering the locker room at halftime.
Ellis finished the first half with a game-high eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, while Mauvolyene Adams ripped down eight rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. UIC was led by Briana Hinkle’s eight points. The Huskies held a 34-31 rebounding edge, and both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field.
UIC opened the second half like it ended the first, controlling the tempo, and claimed its first lead of the game (35-32) with 17:52 remaining, following a three-pointer by Shameia Green. After NIU cut the lead to 42-40 at the 13:49 mark, the Flames answered with an ensuing 9-2 spree, and forced Owens into a timeout with 9:16 left, and the Huskies trailing, 51-42.
The Huskies responded with a 9-1 run, and pulled within one, 53-52, after a drive and finish by York. After forcing a stop on defense, Adams gave NIU its first lead since the opening minute of the second half with a layup as time wound down on the shot clock. Marke Freeman then forced a steal on the other end, and took it coast-to-coast for another layup, giving NIU a 56-53 lead with 3:39 left.
After another layup by Hinkle, Rockford native Courtney Shelton answered with a three-pointer to give NIU a four-point edge, 59-55, with 2:17 remaining. Ellis sealed the seven-point win with an offensive rebound and ensuing layup with 38 seconds remaining.
NIU will wrap up non-conference play on the road on Sunday (Jan. 3), when the Huskies travel to the Windy City to take on host Chicago State at 2 p.m.