Huskies Open 2014 and MAC Play Saturday; Host Ohio

GO HUSKIES Junior Natecia Augusta boosted her season scoring average to 10.4 points per game with a 14 point effort against UIC
Junior Natecia Augusta boosted her season scoring average to 10.4 points per game with a 14 point effort against UIC

Jan. 3, 2014

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Game 11
Northern Illinois (4-6, 0-0 MAC) vs Ohio (5-6, 0-0 MAC)
Saturday, January 4 (1 p.m.)
DeKalb, Ill. (NIU Convocation Center)
Live Stats:
Radio: WLBK 98.9 FM, 1360 AM; NIUTube (
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia, Ethel Gregory
Video: NIUTube (
Twitter: @NIUscores

Saturday earmarks Northern Illinois’ first game of 2014, as well as its conference opening game. The Huskies will host the Ohio Bobcats January 4 at the Convocation Center, beginning at 1 p.m.  NIU enters the game with a 4-6 record, while OU is 5-6.

Northern Illinois women’s basketball can be followed in a myriad of ways throughout the season. Audio of all of NIU’s games will be available for fans to listen to live and on on-demand (subscription required). Play-by-play man Andy Garcia, now in his third year, will be on the call for all of NIU’s games this season and is joined by former Huskie assistant coach Ethel Gregory during home games. Fans can also follow the team on Facebook and Twitter. Like “NIU Huskies” on Facebook and follow @GoHuskiesWBB and @NIUathletics on Twitter. Gameday updates and scores from all women’s basketball games can be followed on Twitter @NIUscores.

The NIU Convocation Center will offer free parking for all basketball home games this season. Fans are asked to park in the C-2 and C-3 parking lots. For more details on other changes to gameday and to view a detailed parking map of the area, visit

This weekend’s showdown with the Bobcats will be the 30th meeting all-time, and the 26th as members of the Mid-American Conference. Northern Illinois leads the all-time series with Ohio, 15-14, and have taken five of the last six meetings. NIU’s only loss in that span was in the 2011 MAC Tournament First Round, held at the Convocation Center. The series is split 5-5 in the last 10 meetings between Northern Illinois and Ohio. The Huskies Head Coach Kathi Bennett, now in her fourth year, is 3-1 all-time against OU.

On January 9 at Toledo, the Huskies will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports as the Mid-American Conference Game of the Week. While the game will played in the morning, 10 a.m. Central, the game will be tape delayed until 2 p.m. Central. TWC will also be airing its annual MAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Preview Show Saturday, January 4 at 10 a.m. Central. Check your local listings or log onto to to view channel listings.

Northern Illinois played its sixth New Year’s Eve contest all-time last Tuesday, hosting local rival Illinois-Chicago at the NIU Convocation Center. The Huskies and the Flames exchanged runs throughourt the game, but it was UIC who carried a lead for most of the game.

However, NIU had no trouble scoring in the game as the team accounted for 23 field goals. The wealth was spread well throughout the Huskie lineup as six players had three-or-more baskets with Natecia Augusta leading the way as she was 6-for-10 in the game with 14 points. Freshman Ally Lehman contributed a season-high 10 points in the effort, going 5-for-7 thanks to her pull up jump shots. NIU led the game with 4:47 left in the first half, following a three-pointer from Alexis Lindstrom, Northern Illinois’ only trey of the game.

While Northern Illinois shot 42.6 percent from the field, compared to UIC’s 38.0 percent, the Flames were 27-of-31 from the free throw line. UIC was a mere four free throws from tying its school-record for made shots from the stripe. The Huskies would fall to the Flames, 66-54.

Ohio is 5-6 this season and has been a team of road warriors as it has only played two games at home this year. On the road and on neutral sites, the Bobcats are 3-6, with only one of those wins coming on a neutral floor. In their last five games played, Ohio is 2-3, with wins over Notre Dame College (Dec. 14) and Maryland-Baltimore County (Dec. 30). OU has a played a tough gauntlet of games, having played Maryland, Lousville, Xavier, UIC and James Madison.

Sophomore Kiyanna Black has been the Bobcats rock in 11 games off the bench this season. Averaging 21.7 minutes per game, she leads the team in scoring with 12.0 points per game. Mariah Byard is  Kat Yelle has been a scorer and a distributor for OU this year, averaging 7.3 points and a team-high 2.5 assists per game. Cleaning the glass are Lexie Baldwin and Quiera Lampkins, who are averaging 5.4 and 5.1 boards per game, respectively. Lampkins is also scoring 8.1 points per contest from the back court. The Bobcats have five players averaging seven-or-more points this season.

As a team, Ohio is second in the MAC in three-point field goals made as they average 7.9 per game. Both Byard and Black are averaging two trey’s per outing.

The Huskies and Ohio took each other on last season, February 6, at Ohio’s Convocation Center. The contest would prove to be one of NIU’s most convincing wins of last season as Northern Illinois defeated the Bobcats, 73-52. Amanda Corral scored 20 points in the effort and NIU would record 19 assists with 29 field goals. The Huskies also shot 59.2 percent (29-for-49) from the field against Ohio. While their were three lead changes in the game, Northern Illinois controlled the game as four different players scored in double digits and NIU won by 21 points.

“We’ve talked a lot about having a non-conference schedule that prepared us for the MAC and I think it certainly did. We played some teams that were as good, if not better than some of the teams that we’ll face this season in conference. For us, it’s new year, new season as we start playing teams from the Mid-American Conference. Ohio will attack from everywhere on the floor, which we haven’t seen up to this point. For us, it’s about our pack/gap defensive mentality and that we stay in our areas, we help, recover and we don’t get caught ball watching away from the ball and not seeing what comes at us. It’s important we contain off the dribble and that we’re in our right gaps.”

Assistant Coach Debbie Whitman is in her second season at NIU, serving 2012-13 as the Director of Basketball Operations. Whitman played at NIU (1989-92) and is a member of the Huskie Hall of Fame. She was also Head Coach at DeKalb High School 2005-10).

On Tuesday afternoon against UIC, the Huskies dished out a season-high 18 assists on 23 field goals. It was the second time this season Northern Illinois reached teen digits in a game as it recorded 16 helpers versus Lamar in the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic on November 30.

Freshman Ally Lehman had a career afternoon scoring against the Flames last Tuesday, going 5-for-7 from the field to score 10 points. Lehman’s total surpassed her previous-best of nine points against both Bradley and Mississippi Valley State.

The Huskies have led or tied their opponents in field goals over the last seven games of the season. NIU has led in six of the last seven, as it only equaled South Dakota State December 17 with 19 field goals.

The Huskies have had improved success in the field goal department this season as they have converted 25-or-more baskets five times in 2013-14. In those games, NIU owns a 3-2 record. Last season, Northern Illinois only made 25-or-more baskets in a game four times in 30 games played.

Not only is NIU making a lot of baskets, they are also scoring more than their opponents, thanks to an increased presence in the post. NIU has scored more field goals than its opponents in seven contests this year and is 4-3 in those instances. Compare that to last year, when the Huskies were 6-4 when scoring more field goals than their opponents.

Saturday’s game versus Ohio will be the fourth Mid-American Conference opener for Head Coach Kathi Bennett. In her previous three MAC openers, Bennett is 0-3. All-time against the Bobcats, Bennett is 3-1, including three-consecutive regular season victories over Ohio.

The Mid-American Conference revved up the #MACtion in 2013-14, increasing the conference schedule by two games for a grand total of 18 MAC games this season.

This matchup has no possession arrow in its favor. When the Huskies and the Bobcats face each other in DeKalb, the series is split, 7-7. NIU has taken the last two regular season meetings at the NIU Convocation Center.

Freshman Amber Gray made her first career field goal on her third career attempt Tuesday afternoon against UIC. The Mukwonago, Wis., native kissed the glass on a layup with 12:16 left in the game.

The NIU Huskies hit the road for a brunch showdown at Toledo, Thursday, January 9 at 10 a.m. Central. The Rockets are the four-time defending MAC West Champions. The game will be aired on tape delay on Time Warner Cable Sports. Check your local listings.



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