Illinois Women's Basketball Rallies for MAC Road Victory Over Central
MT. PLEASANT, MI ---Clipboard from OfficeMax in DeKalb: $9.99.
Packet of markers
from OfficeMax: $1.29.
Conference road win at Central Michigan University: Priceless.
Illinois University women*s basketball coach Carol Owens may even
consider upping her supplies budget if necessary after Wednesday
night*s 59-57 thriller which gave the NIU women their first *road*
victory of the season * not counting an earlier neutral site triumph.
Of course, it came at the expense of her coaching clipboard
*In the last 30 seconds it got a little intense. Perhaps I need
to break more clipboards,* the two-time NIU Athletics Hall of Famer
quipped. *I guess I just wanted this win so bad for this team. These
ladies have worked so hard and they*ve been so diligent. It*s really
great to see them get this reward.*
who improved to 5-8 overall and 1-1 in the MAC, trailed by as many
as nine early in the second half before an 11-2 run created the
first of five ties in the second half alone. Overall, the game would
feature nine total ties and 17 lead changes --- 11 of which came
in the final 20 minutes with Stephanie Raymond (Rockford / Lutheran)
knotting the game at 57-all with 1:58 to play off her fourth three-pointer
of the game. After Northern Illinois regained possession and used
a pair of 30-second timeouts --- including the clipboard breaker
--- Raymond drove the baseline and double-pumped the Chippewas*
Casey Manning into a foul.
With 10.2 seconds
left to be played, Raymond made the first of a one-and-bonus and
then added the second for a 59-57 lead. Having committed only four
fouls, NIU used two of those to whittle time down after Central
Michigan would inbound the ball. The hosts got a final shot off
with 2.7 seconds that simply drew iron.
*I knew we just
needed a basket and that we didn*t need a three-pointer, so I looked
for an opportunity to drive and got the foul,* Raymond explained.
*We practice a lot of pressure free throws, so it wasn*t a big deal.*
neither is scoring a career-high 24 points. Raymond equalled her
career hallmark for the third time within the last five games and
also for the sixth time in her career.
*A lot of the
credit ahs to go to my teammates. They would drive and that created
a lot of outside shots for me,* Raymond noted. *I was just trying
to create offensive opportunities either for them or myself.*
The 5-5 junior
enjoyed a stellar night as she included 4-of-5 shooting from beyond
the arch within a 7-of-14 overall night from the floor along with
a perfect 6-for-6 at the charity stripe. Teammate Mary Basic (Lemont
/ Chicago Heights Marian Catholic) registered her third consecutive
double-figure performance with 11 while Kristin Wiener (Apple Valley,
MN / Academy of Holy Angels) just missed a double-double with 10
points and a game-best nine rebounds in helping the Huskies outboard
factor for Northern Illinois was returning the turnover tally to
the mid-teens with 15 in contrast to Central Michigan*s 16. In a
MAC-opening loss at Eastern Michigan University, NIU*s 22 turnovers
were a major factor as the host Eagles outscored the Huskies 31-14
in points off turnovers.
of the ball was essential for ths game,* Owens said. *We also needed
to execute our offense better and continue to rebound well in order
to be successful. We really needed a road win and they*re especially
great to get in the conference. After they lost up here in double
overtime last year, our ladies really wanted this game very badly.*
which began the year with six straight wins and was the hottest
women*s team in the league early on, slipped to 9-4 with the loss
and 0-2 for MAC play. Sharonda Hurd scored a team-best 17 points
with 15 from Ann Skufca and 10 more from Chasidy Myers.
used back-to-back lay-ups from Manning and Hurd to close out a see-saw
first-half with a 23-19 lead. CMU was able to bump that margin up
to nine, 32-23, just 2:26 into the second half. But then came the
*We told them
that (nine-point lead) was their run. We reminded them of how we
always say basketball is a game of runs and the key is how you handle
your opponent*s runs,* Owens explained. *We obviously handled it
well. We fought back into a tie and then kept answering them until
we got to the end. In the first half, we jut needed to settle down.
Steph did a great job leading the team both creating shots for others
and for herself. Getting the ball in Steph*s hands was crucial as
was hitting our free throws.*
returns home to the Convocation Center on Saturday for its initial
MAC home game as the Huskies welcome the University of Toledo for
a 2:05 p.m. contest. The Rockets, who took two out of three meetings
last season, ended NIU*s season with a 76-61 loss at UT*s Centennial
Hall in the first round of the Mid-Am Postseason Tournament.
information, please contact Steve Nemeth) NIU