80, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 73
Rost scored 32 points as Western Michigan defeated Northern Illinois
80-73 in Mid-American Conference women's basketball action Wednesday
opened defense of their 2003 MAC tournament championship, improving
to 6-6 on the season after winning their conference opener. Lindsay
Secrest (Bloomfield, IN) led Northern Illinois with a season-high
19 points but the Huskies slipped to 5-7 overall including a 0-1
used an 18-4 run to take control early, with Kelly Koerber's basket
giving the Broncos a 24-14 lead six minutes before the intermission.
Stephanie Raymond (Rockford / Lutheran) had staked NIU to a 10-6
lead prior to that run, but the visitors went nearly five minutes
before slowing the Broncos' surge on a Joi Scott (Reynoldsburg,
OH) jumper. Northern Illinois trailed just 30-25 at the half following
a Monique Davis (Columbus, OH / Marion-Franklin) three-pointer just
before the horn.
tentative against their press early but we did some good things
and got back to a five-point g ame. Then in the second half they
(WMU) made adjustments," NIU coach Carol Hammerle admitted.
"We shot the ball well and did a good job of getting the ball
inside in the second half, but we gave them too many points. Too
many opportunities at the free throw line. We didn't do a good job
of taking care of business."
NIU shot 47.6
percent (10-of-21) from the field in the opening 20 minutes but
13 first-half turnovers proved to be too much to overcome. Rost
led all scorers with 12 points at the break.
Wiener (Apple Valley, MN / Holy Angels) free throws brought the
Huskies within 48-43 with 10:45 remaining in regulation but Western
Michigan pulled away by scoring 14 of the game's next 19 points.
Back-to-back jumpers from Kate Verseput---the latter from behind
the arc---fueled the flurry and Rost added two free throws plus
a lay-up to stretch the margin to 62-48 at the 6:48 mark. The lead
remained in double digits (71-58) before the Huskies' launched a
frantic comeback attempt.
scored nine unanswered points to cut the deficit to 71-67 with 1:03
to play. Secrest's fourth three-pointer of the night came during
that flurry, but the visitors could get no closer as WMU made nine
of ten free throws the rest of the way to secure the victory.
finished 22-of-29 from the line including 16-of-22 in the final
20 minutes. The Broncos also shot a torrid 53.6 percent (15-of-28)
from the field after intermission and 47.2 percent (25-of-53) for
the game while out-rebounding NIU 35-31. The Huskies made 26 of
59 field goal attempts (44.1 percent)---including ten-of-18 behind
the arc ---but got to the free throw line only 12 times, making
16 points and seven rebounds for Northern Illinois, with Raymond
matching her season-high of 11 points and Davis chipping in with
ten. Raymond also set frosh-bests with her six assists and four
rebounds, but Jennifer Youngblood (Rock Island) managed just four
points to go with her game-high 13 rebounds.
(Raymond) really did a nice job of breaking their press and taking
care of the ball," Hammerle said, noting the freshman's six
assists versus three turnovers in 34 minutes. "She probably
should have shot the ball more tonight, because she was really on
could not control Rost, who made nine-of-12 shots (including four
treys) from the field and 10-of-13 at the line. The preseason All-MAC
choice---who entered the game second in the MAC at 18.6 points per
game---also had seven steals. Koerber, Verseput and Maria Jilian
each registered ten points to support Rost, with Jilian's line also
featuring six assists plus five steals.
point total marks the first time NIU has surrendered more than 70
points in a game this winter. Western Michigan surpassed the 80-point
mark in winning both games last season, outscoring the Huskies 81-48
here on Jan. 16, 2003, and 83-67 in DeKalb, IL, on March 4, 2003.
continue MAC play Saturday (Jan. 10) hosting Bowling Green St. University
in a 2:05 p.m. matinee. The Falcons fell to Ball State, 72-70, in
their league opener Wednesday and bring a 7-5 record to the Convocation
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by Robert Hester