Huskies Begin MAC Play Thursday at Buffalo

GO HUSKIES Ashley Sneed shoots a jumper against South Dakota State earlier this season.
GO HUSKIES
Ashley Sneed shoots a jumper against South Dakota State earlier this season.
GO HUSKIES

Jan. 8, 2013

DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois continues its 56th season with its 17th meeting against Buffalo to begin Mid-American Conference play on Thursday, Jan. 10 in Buffalo, N.Y. at 6 p.m. CT. The teams last met on Jan. 22, 2012 in DeKalb and the Bulls won 62-46.

NIU-Buffalo Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Game Info
Date: Thursday, Jan. 10
Tip-Off: 6:00 p.m. CT
Location: Buffalo, N.Y.
Arena: Alumni Arena
TV: Time Warner SportsChannel
Webcast: BuffaloBulls.com
Live Stats: BuffaloBulls.com
Radio: Huskie All-Access
Series: NIU leads 13-3

NIU Info
2012-13 Record: 5-8
Home/Away/Neutral: 2-1 | 1-6 | 2-1
Last Game: L, 54-49 at Valparaiso
Head Coach: Kathi Bennett
Career Record: 327-219 (20th year)
Record at NIU: 31-42 (3rd year)
Record vs. UB: 1-1

Buffalo Info
2012-13 Record: 2-11
Home/Away/Neutral: 1-5 | 1-5 | 0-1
Last Game: L, 70-43 at Cornell
Head Coach: Felisha Legette-Jack
Career Record: 143-174 (11th year)
Record at UB: 2-11 (1st year)
Record vs. NIU: 0-1

Storylines
-- This game will mark the Mid-American Conference season opener for both teams. NIU is 6-13 all-time in MAC openers and 0-2 under Kathi Bennett. The 16-game schedule will have NIU at home for five of the first eight games.

-- NIU has a stellar 13-3 all-time record against Buffalo. The Huskies are a perfect 6-0 in Buffalo, N.Y. against the Bulls in the series that dates back to 1999. UB's three wins came in 2002 (50-39 on Jan. 23 in DeKalb), 2009 (57-52 on March 11 in Cleveland, OH at the MAC Tournament) and 2012 (62-46 on Jan. 22 in DeKalb). Since NIU reeled off an eight-game winning streak in the series, the teams have split the last four meetings.

-- The Huskies are ending a season long five-game road trip. Featuring five games in four states from Dec. 22 - Jan. 10, NIU will have traveled over 3,100 miles on the trip. NIU is 15-14 at home under Bennett and 16-28 elsewhere. The Huskies are currently 1-3 on the excursion.

Scouting Buffalo
After a 9-22 record, 4-12 in MAC play, last season, Buffalo is 2-11 in its first year under former Indiana Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack, who owns a 143-174 record in her 11th season as a head coach. The Bulls' two wins thus far have come against Oakland (61-59, Nov. 16) and Niagara (65-51, Dec. 21). Buffalo is 1-5 at home this season and is averaging 58.4 points per game while giving up 70.2. UB is shooting 34 percent from the field and giving up a 42.2 percent clip.

Last Time Bennett and Legette-Jack Faced Off
NIU got the best of Felisha Legette-Jack the last time the two faced each other, which came last season on Dec. 17, 2011 when she was the head coach at Indiana. The Huskies stayed close the entire game at Assembly Hall and won 60-59 on a three-pointer from then-senior Courtney Shelton with nine seconds left. The win gave NIU its first against a Big Ten opponent since 2006 and Bennett her first win in four tries against IU since being the Hoosiers' head coach from 2000-05.

Last Time Against Buffalo
The NIU defense had an uncharacteristic showing by allowing UB to shoot 45.2 percent from the field and 60 percent from three-point territory in a 62-46 win in DeKalb on Jan. 22, 2012. The Huskies struggled to handle then-senior and one of the MAC's top scorers Brittany Hedderson, who scored 16 of her 29 points in the game's first 16 minutes to help the Bulls build an insurmountable 35-11 lead.

Crusaders Earn Rare Win Over NIU
The Huskies' 54-49 loss last Saturday at Valparaiso gave the Crusaders their second win in 21 all-time meetings against NIU and ended a five-game losing streak in the series that was resumed for the first time since 1994. Satavia Taylor led NIU with 16 points, 10 in the second half, as the Huskies nearly overcame an 11-point first half deficit. NIU had three chances in the final minute of the game to tie or take the lead.

Sharing the Win
In NIU's 69-38 win over Norfolk State on Dec. 29, the Huskies racked up 14 assists on 21 baskets, including 10 on 11 first half field goals. NIU largest winning margin of the year yielded its second highest assist total of the season, coming short of the 19 it had at Morehead State. Jenna Thorp handed out the most versus NSU with a career high five assists.

Long Range Lindstrom
One of the huge keys to the NSU win was the performance of freshman Alexis Lindstrom, who went 5-for-5 on three-pointers for a season- and game-high 17 points. She went 4-for-4 in the first half to help NIU grab a 40-20 lead and then hit her only three of the second half to come one three shy of Satavia Taylor's NIU record set earlier this season. For the season, Lindstrom is a cool 8-for-12 from long range. NIU's 9-for-15 day from three-point range was a season best in attempts and threes made.

Augusta Earns All-Tournament Nod
For the second time in her career, Natecia Augusta posted back-to-back double digit scoring efforts as she scored a team-high 14 points versus Xavier and added 12 against Norfolk State at the 2012 Cavalier Classic. Her 13 points and three rebounds per game earned her an all-tournament selection as she went 8-for-11 on field goals and 10-for-10 on free throws. For the season, she is shooting a MAC seventh best 80.6 percent on free throws and is averaging a career high 7.3 points per game.

Common Threads to Victory
Three factors have all rang true in NIU's five wins this season -- holding a halftime lead, winning the turnover battle and capitalizing on turnovers. The Huskies are 5-1 when leading at the half and 0-7 when trailing. They are 4-1 when committing less turnovers than their opponent and 1-7 when having more. They are 5-1 when scoring more points off turnovers than their opponent and 0-7 when scoring less.

Corral-ing Points
After missing all but six minutes of the South Dakota State game and the whole Bradley game due to a left ankle sprain, Amanda Corral has returned as good as ever versus Loyola, Indiana State, DePaul, Eastern Illinois, Illinois Chicago, Xavier and Norfolk State. She scored a season-high 19 points in each of the first two games, added 15 versus DePaul, 10 against EIU, 19 again at UIC, 11 versus Xavier and 11 against Norfolk State. The 104 points in the seven-game stretch are the most she's scored in seven straight games in her young career and has raised her scoring average per game to a career high mark of 12.6, which ranks 10th in the MAC. Her streak of double digit scoring efforts ended at Valparaiso as she scored nine points.

Corral Again Named MAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Week
On Dec. 18, the league office announced Amanda Corral as the Mid-American Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Week for the second time in three weeks. She had 15 points, six rebounds and two assists against DePaul to earn the honor as she boasts a 4.0 GPA in health sciences. Corral garnered the award for the first time in her career on Dec. 6 after she scored 19 points with four rebounds and an assist and block in a win over Loyola.

Tay and the Trey
NIU ranks first in the MAC in 3-point percentage (35.2%) and 29th in the nation. A large reason for the three-point percentage is Satavia Taylor, who ranks ninth in the MAC with a 38.6 percentage. Her 6-for-6 game against Morehead State set the NIU record for accuracy behind the arc in a game.

Huskies have 2-1 Showing in Preseason WNIT
In their second-ever Preseason WNIT appearance, the Huskies fell at Iowa in the first round but rebounded strong in the consolation rounds. NIU beat Davidson 64-61 and then cruised past Morehead State 76-46 for a 2-1 record to start the season -- the third 2-1 start for Bennett in three years as NIU head coach.

NIU Inks Two Impressive Frontcourt Players for 2013-14
In the early signing period in November, the Huskies received National Letters of Intent from 6'0" combo player Jazmine Harris (West Allis, Wis./Heritage Christian) and 5'10" do-it-all player Ally Lehman (Nineveh, Ind./Indian Creek). Both were all-state selections as juniors as Harris averaged 12.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while Lehman netted 26 points, 13.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 4.4 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

Huskies Playing 20th Season in NCAA Division I
Overall, the Huskies are 431-455 (.486) in 20 seasons of Division I play. NIU has been to the NCAA Tournament five times (1989-90, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95).

Building on Bennett's Year 2 Success
Entering Year 3 of the Kathi Bennett era, the 300-win coach has the NIU women's basketball program pointed in the right direction. The Huskies tallied two wins in the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament for the first time since 2007. Last season, the Huskies posted a 14-17 overall record, 6-10 in MAC play, with a team full of underclassmen that can build on the experience, especially after closing the season winning eight of the last 14 contests.

Bennett Extended through the 2017 Season
On Aug. 22, 2012, NIU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher announced a contract extension through the 2017 season for Bennett. In her first season in 2010-11, Bennett went 13-17 (7-9 MAC) to improve the win total by 30 percent overall, 75 percent in conference, from the 2009-10 team that she inherited. In her second season, she pushed the 2011-12 Huskies to one win better (14-17, 6-10 MAC) than her first year and made a splash in the MAC Tournament with a youthful roster full of nine underclassmen.

NIU Picked to Finish 4th in the MAC West
The Mid-American Conference coaches and media chose the Huskies to finish fourth in the MAC West Division for the second straight year in the MAC Preseason Poll.

NIU on TV
Sunday, Feb. 3 against at Miami (OH) at 1 p.m. CT will mark NIU's lone TV appearance of the season. The game will be produced by the MAC's regional cable partner SportsTime Ohio.

On the Air
Every NIU basketball game of the 2012-13 season can be heard on the Northern Illinois Sports Network, presented by IMG. Home and away games will air on WLBK 98.9 FM and 1360 AM and Huskie All-Access at NIUHuskies.com. Home games can also be watched with live video through Huskie All-Access.

-NIU-