Dec. 31, 2007
Box Score in PDF Format
NORMAL, Ill.-The Northern Illinois University women's basketball team closed out its non-conference schedule falling to in-state rival Illinois State, 78-54, Monday afternoon at Redbird Arena.
The Huskies (4-9) opened the game strong, taking an early 5-4 lead, but Illinois State responded with a 16-2 run to take a 20-7 lead with 11:58 left to play in the half. Shari' Welton (Calumet City, Ill./Thornwood) and Becky Smith (Janesville, Wis/Parker) combined to score 14 points for the Huskies and bring NIU to within 12, 33-21, with 5:58 left to play.
A three-pointer from Kylie York (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) cut the deficit to nine with 4:51 left in the half. The Redbirds closed out the half with a 9-2 run to give ISU a 42-26 lead heading into the break.
Illinois State (10-1) continued to dominate in the second half, leading by as many as 25. Four of the five Redbird starters finished in double figures with Ashleen Bracey leading the way with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Welton and Ebony Ellis (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Township) turned in their best performances as Huskies. Welton led NIU with a career-high 15 points, while Ellis reached her season high in points with 11. She also led the Huskies in rebounding, grabbing eight boards. York was 3-11 from the field en route to scoring nine points.
The Huskies once again controlled the glass, winning the rebound battle, 38-34, but Illinois State converted 24 NIU turnovers into 31 points. The Redbirds shot 50.8 percent from the field, while the Huskies were held to 35.8 percent.
"All along our goal has been conference play," NIU head coach Carol Owens said. "We've talked about that all along. Our kids have handled it (non-conference schedule) well through adversity and injuries. Would we want to have a better record at this point? Yes. We've gotten so much better."
The Huskies will open up conference play against MAC West rival Eastern Michigan when NIU travels to Ypsilanti, Mich. Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008. Tip off is set for 6 p.m. Fans can follow all the action with Bill Baker on 1360 AM WLBK.