Huskies Ring In 2011 Against Redbirds

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Jan. 2, 2011

Northern Illinois (6-6, 0-0 MAC) vs. Illinois State (9-3, 2-0 Missouri Valley)
 Date Monday, January 1, 2011  •  7 p.m. CDT
 Location DeKalb, Ill. • NIU Convocation Center • Tickets
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 All-Time Series ISU leads 24-7
 Bennett Versus Bennett is 6-4 against Illinois State

 

DeKALB - The Northern Illinois women's basketball team (6-6, 0-0 MAC) hosts downstate rival Illinois State (9-3, 2-0 MVC) to tip-off the new year, Monday, Jan. 3 at the Convocation Center. The contest renews a rivalry that dates back to 1957-58.

STORYLINES

• The Northern Illinois women's basketball team (6-6, 0-0 MAC) hosts downstate rival Illinois State (9-3, 2-0 MVC) to tip-off the new year, Monday, Jan. 3 at the Convocation Center. The contest renews a rivalry that dates back to 1957-58.

• The Huskies returned home for the first time in over a month to find friendly rims in a 70-59 win over Loyola. NIU knocked down 4-of-5 three-pointers to start, including three by Marke Freeman, against the Ramblers, jumping out to a 13-1 lead. NIU finished the night with a season-high nine made triples.

• NIU is 2-1 against he Missouri Valley this season, with all three contests coming on the road. The Huskies defeated Northern Iowa, 71-64, and beat Southern Illinois 46-45 on a 40-foot buzzer-beating three-pointer by Courtney Shelton. NIU's only loss to the MVC was a 57-48 setback at Bradley

• In addition to being 26 points short of joining the NIU 1,000-Point Club, Marke Freeman is one assist short of becoming only the 16th Huskie to dish out 250 assists in a career.

QUICK BITS

Marke Freeman leads the MAC in three-point field goal percentage at 47.1 percent.

• NIU's nine three-pointers against Loyola were the most in a game this season.

• The Huskies are 5-0 when leading at halftime, but 1-6 when trailing at the break.

• NIU is 16-22 in the first game of a calendar year. They won 2010's opener over Chicago State 66-61.

CAN'T MISS THIS

Marke Freeman is just 26 points shy of becoming the 26th member of Northern Illinois' 1,000-Point Club. The redshirt senior is in only her third season on the court with the Huskies after transferring from Florida A&M. If Freeman gets to 1,000, she will become the first player to reach the scoring milestone in just three seasons since Stephanie Raymond scored her 1,000th point in 2005-06. Raymond was the 20th pick in the WNBA draft one year later.

KEY NUMBER: 703

Senior Ebony Ellis became only the 12th Huskie to grab over 700 career rebounds in NIU's game against Loyola. Ellis had five boards in that game, including her 700th board late in the second half. Ellis also ranks fifth on NIU's charts for career offensive rebounds with 309, and is 209 points shy of 1,000.

The Series

Illinois State holds a 24-7 advantage in the series after winning 16 of the first 19 meetings. The series has been more even of late, with Northern Illinois winning three of the last seven contests.

Three's Company

NIU stands as the most accurate three-point shooting team in the MAC, and the sixth-best three-point shooting team in the nation. The Huskies have hit 40.2 percent of their attempts from distance, including knocking in 4-of-5 (80.0 percent) and 5-of-7 (71.4 percent) against UNI and SIU, respectively. Individually, Marke Freeman leads NIU, hitting 47.1 percent (24-51) of her threes. That ranks second in the MAC, and 18th in the country.

Defense Locking On

The Huskies are beginning to get the hang of Kathi Bennett's signature "pack" defense. NIU has held opponents to 40 percent shooting six times this year. The Huskies are 4-2 in those games.

`Big' Win

Tuesday's win over Loyola was a big win because it snapped a three-game slide for the Huskies. But the 70-59 victory was also the biggest win by margin: 11 points. NIU's five other wins have all come by single digits.