Jan. 4, 2012
Northern Illinois Huskies (6-6, 0-0 MAC) vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (8-6, 0-0 MAC)
NIU-CMU Game Notes
Date: Thursday, January 5, 2012
Tipoff: 7:00 PM CT
Location: NIU Convocation Center | DeKalb, Ill.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM DeKalb - Andy Garcia and Ethel Gregory on the call
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Northern Illinois plays its seventh road game of the year with its 41st all-time meeting with Central Michigan.
A Look at Central Michigan
Central Michigan enters the game as winners of six of its last seven games. Dating even further back, CMU is 8-2 over its last 10 games since starting the year 0-4. The Chippewas average 71.6 points per game and give up 69.7. They are shooting 39.0 percent from the field and allow opponents to shoot 37.8 percent. CMU features three scorers averaging double figures in Crystal Bradford (13.6), Jas’Mine Bracey (11.0), and Jessica Green (10.9).
Last Time Versus Central Michigan
The two teams last met in DeKalb last year on Feb. 16, and the Huskies came out on top 59-45 to avenge an earlier loss in the season at CMU. NIU held CMU 38 points under its scoring average and to a 26.7 shooting percentage while shooting 42.9 percent. Kaihla Szunko paced the Chippewas was 10 points. Kim Davis led the Huskies with 14 points.
Danny Pulliam underwent successful knee surgery on Dec. 8. Pulliam will be out for the season with a torn meniscus and microfracture surgery in her right knee.
At This Time Last Year
NIU was 6-7 last season and had lost four of their last six games before heading into league play. This year, NIU is 6-6 through non-conference play and has won four of its last seven games.
After having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in her left knee on Dec. 8, sophomore Ashley Sneed is fully healthy and available to play. Prior to missing the last six games, Sneed was averaging a career-best 6.2 points per game and had career-high scoring games of 12 (at Loyola) and 14 (at Illinois State) points.
NIU returns for a home game for the first time in two games and 14 days. The back-to-back road games NIU just lost to Eastern Illinois and DePaul mark one of only three back-to-back sets of a road games all year for NIU.
Looking to get Back on Track
In the loss at DePaul last Saturday, NIU was held to its lowest point total (46) since scoring 45 against Bradley on Nov. 23, a span of nine games. NIU also did not have a player score double digits for the first time all year.
Three scorers reached double-figures last Thursday at Eastern Illinois, which marked the fourth time this season that NIU has had three or more players score 10-plus points. Courtney Shelton led the way with a season-high 22. Satavia Taylor and Claire Jakubicek each added 11.
NIU has won back-to-back games three different times this season already. Last year, NIU accomplished the feat three times all year.
In NIU’s 47-43 win over Indiana State, Kim Davis and Amanda Corral combined for 31 of NIU’s 47 points, including all nine points of NIU’s 9-0 run to open the game. The two also scored the last 16 points for NIU to close out the win. Davis’ 16 were a season high, while Corral notched 15 for the second straight game.
Foes’ Friendly Rims
NIU has found it easier to score on the road than at home as the Huskies average 57.5 points per game on the road and 56.8 at home. Shooting-wise, the Huskies have shot better away from home in free throw (.694-.678), three-point (.339-.327) and overall field goal attempts (.397-.357).
Home Court Advantage
The Huskies are 4-2 at home this year and are holding opponents to just 54.7 points per game, as opposed to the 65.0 points per game NIU allows on the road. NIU has also held opponents to a .322 field goal percentage at home, compared to a .400 percentage on the road.
Courting the Three-Point Line
As of Jan. 2, the Huskies rank third in the MAC in three-point field goal percentage at .333, led by Courtney Shelton’s league-sixth-best .383 percentage. Helping her percentage was a season-best 5-for-7 performance at Indiana Dec. 17. Her 18 threes made are good for eighth in the league.
As of Jan. 2, NIU ranks second in the MAC and 72nd in the NCAA in opponent field goal percentage (.360). The Huskies are 6-4 when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting and are 4-2 when outshooting their foes. The Huskies also rank fourth in the MAC in scoring defense (59.8 PPG).
With rebounding margin of +4.5, NIU ranks third in the MAC and 73th in the NCAA, as of Jan. 2. The Huskies have outrebounded their opponents nine times this year and are 6-3 when doing so.
The Right Touch
As of Jan. 2, freshman Claire Jakubicek ranks 10th in the MAC in field goal percentage (.450). Her 21-point, 8-rebound, 5-assist performance at Chicago State was the first 20-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist game since Marke Freeman tallied 24 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds on Feb. 20, 2010, against Toledo.
An indication of a deep team, the Huskie bench has been outstanding through the early part of this season. NIU owns a 251-118 edge in points off the bench over its opponents. The only three games NIU’s bench has not outscored its opponent’s bench is the Illinois Chicago (16-8), Eastern Illinois (18-11), and DePaul (13-11) games.
Double-Double on the Marke
Amanda Corral’s 16-point, 10-rebound double-double against Temple was the first by an NIU guard since last year’s leading scorer Marke Freeman poured in 23 points and 17 boards in a 56-48 win at Ohio on Jan. 1, 2011.
Corral repeated the feat at Indiana Dec. 17 with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Corraling MAC West Player of the Week
In just her first seven days of collegiate action, freshman Amanda Corral has already caught the MAC’s attention, garnering MAC West Player of the Week on Nov. 21st. Corral led NIU to a 2-0 record by averaging 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
Percent of Production Returning
The Huskies return seven players from last year, including three starters in Kim Davis, Danny Pulliam, and Courtney Shelton, and welcome seven newcomers. In terms of production, NIU returns 64 percent of its minutes, 49 percent of its points, 45 percent of its rebounds, 71 percent of its assists, 44 percent of its blocks, and 53 percent of its steals.
Bennett’s Year 2 Success
In Year 2 of each of her three prior head coaching stops throughout her career, Bennett has posted a combined win-loss total of 44-38. Her Year 2 win total has been an increase from Year 1 in two of the three stops. Indiana was the only place she did not have an increase, as she led the Hoosiers to 17 wins after totaling 20 in her first season in Bloomington.
Throughout her career, Bennett has faced all 23 of NIU’s 2011-12 opponents and holds a 49-43 record against them.
NIU Picked to Finish 4th in MAC West
The Mid-American Conference coaches and select media chose the Huskies to finish fourth in the West Division this year in the MAC Preseason Poll.
Huskies Ink Three on Signing Day
On signing day on Nov. 9, NIU received National Letters of Intent from forward McKenzie Hoelmenn (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North), guard Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove), and forward Nichole Wittman (Hutchinson, Minn./Hutchinson), Hoelmenn is Max Preps’ No. 3 player from Minnesota and No. 87 player in the nation. Max Preps ranks Wittman and Lindstrom No. 41 and No. 133 in their respective states.
For the fourth straight year, NIU’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) topped the 80 percent mark. With an 82 percent GSR, the Huskies sit two points above the four-class national average. The women’s basketball team is one of four NIU programs to post a perfect 100 percent GSR as every freshman and transfer student-athlete who entered NIU between 2001-04 graduated.
NIU on TV
On Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, NIU’s 1 PM CT contest at Eastern Michigan will be televised by the Mid-American Conference’s regional cable partner SportsTime Ohio. The game will be NIU’s only scheduled regular season TV appearance.
On the Air
Every NIU basketball game of the 2011-12 season can be heard on the Northern Illinois Sports Network, Presented by IMG. Women’s games home and away can be heard on 1360-AM WLBK and Huskie All-Access at NIUHuskies.com. Home games can also be watched live through Huskie All-Access.
Up Next for NIU
The Huskies play their first MAC road game as they travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., to take on Eastern Michigan on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 1 PM CT.