NIU Faces Ball State in MAC Home Opener Sunday

GO HUSKIES Natecia Augusta is averaging a career-high 7.2 points per game this season.
Natecia Augusta is averaging a career-high 7.2 points per game this season.

Jan. 11, 2013

DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois continues its 56th season with its 42nd meeting against Ball State in NIU's Mid-American Conference home opener on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. at the Convocation Center. The teams split the season series in 2011-12. The Cardinals won 50-43 in Muncie, Ind. on Jan. 11, 2012 and the Huskies won 58-44 in DeKalb on Feb. 16, 2012.

NIU-Ball State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Last Meeting
Ball State44
Northern Illinois58
February 16, 2012
DeKalb, Ill.
Huskies Back at .500 with 58-44 win over Ball State
A rare 34-point first half paced the Northern Illinois women's basketball team to a 58-44 win over Ball State on Thursday night at the NIU Convocation Center in a Mid-American Conference West Division contest. The win moves the Huskies (12-12, 6-6 MAC) back to .500 for the first time since Dec. 31.

Game Info
Date: Sunday, Jan. 13
Tip-Off: 3:00 p.m. CT
Location: DeKalb, Ill.
Arena: Convocation Center
Webcast: Huskie All-Access
Live Stats:
Radio: Huskie All-Access
Series: BSU leads 25-16

NIU Info
2012-13 Record: 5-9
Home/Away/Neutral: 2-1 | 1-7 | 2-1
Last Game: L, 60-53 at Buffalo
Head Coach: Kathi Bennett
Career Record: 327-220 (20th year)
Record at NIU: 31-43 (3rd year)
Record vs. BSU: 7-1

Ball State Info
2012-13 Record: 4-10
Home/Away/Neutral: 3-4 | 1-6 | 0-0
Last Game: W, 62-59 vs. Miami (OH)
Head Coach: Brady Sallee
Career Record: 140-119 (9th year)
Record at BSU: 4-10 (1st year)
Record vs. NIU: 1-0

-- The game marks NIU's Mid-American Conference schedule home opener. The Huskies are 0-2 in MAC home openers under Head Coach Kathi Bennett and have lost three in a row. The last win in a MAC home opener for NIU came on January 14, 2009 versus Western Michigan (71-65). Overall, NIU is 8-11 in MAC home openers.

-- Ball State leads the all-time series 25-16 but the Huskies have an 11-10 edge in DeKalb and have won two straight and three of the last four. The teams split the season series in 2011-12 as each defended its home court. Ball State won 50-43 in Muncie, Ind. on Jan. 11, 2012. NIU won 58-44 in DeKalb on Feb. 16, 2012.

-- With this game, NIU opens up its longest home stretch of the season as four of the next five games are at the Convocation Center. The Huskies are 2-1 at home this season and 17-14 overall under Bennett. Five of the Huskies' first eight MAC games are at home this season.

Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals are 4-10 in their first season under nine-year veteran Head Coach Brady Sallee, who came over after eight seasons at Eastern Illinois. Sallee guided BSU to a MAC opening win Thursday at home against Miami (Ohio) in a 62-59 decision as Nathalie Fontaine secured the win with a layup with 22 seconds left. The win ended a season long four-game losing streak for the Cardinals, who are 1-6 on the road. BSU is averaging 58.8 points per game and allowing 64.4. The Cardinals are shooting 37.6 percent from the field and giving up a 40.0 percent clip to opponents.

Same Coaches, Different Schools
The last two games for NIU have featured head coaches that Kathi Bennett and Co. faced last season but have since changed programs. At Buffalo on Thursday, Bennett matched up with former Indiana head coach Felisha Legette-Jack, who lost to NIU last season at Assembly Hall for NIU's first win against a Big Ten foe since 2006. The Ball State game will face Bennett against former Eastern Illinois head coach Brady Sallee, who topped NIU last season in Charleston, Ill. in the teams' first meeting since 1994.

Last Time Against Ball State
NIU locked in from the tip, opening a 16-9 lead in the first 10 minutes. The Huskies then finished the half strong with a 15-3 run over the final 7:40 for their second highest halftime lead of the season (34-19). NIU pushed to an 18-point edge at the 8:53 mark of the second half and Ball State got no closer than 12 the rest of the way. NIU held BSU to a 33.3 shooting percentage and forced 23 turnovers for the 58-44 victory.

Buffalo Bruises Way to MAC Opener Win
Despite an 18-point effort by Amanda Corral, it was not enough to overcome 20 turnovers and a 25-for-34 to 8-for-13 free throw disparity for Buffalo in a 60-53 loss on the road, ending a season long five-game road trip for NIU with a 1-4 record. The trip covered over 3,100 miles from Dec. 22-Jan. 10. The loss dropped NIU to 6-13 in MAC openers and 0-3 under Bennett. The win also gave Buffalo just its fourth-ever against NIU and first-ever in Buffalo as NIU was 13-3 overall and 6-0 in Buffalo in the series prior to the game.

Crusaders Earn Rare Win Over NIU
The Huskies' 54-49 loss on Jan. 5 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 cool10-for-17 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 fifth-best 80.6 percent on free throws and is averaging a career high 7.2 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 0-8 when trailing. They are 4-1 when committing less turnovers than their opponent and 1-8 when having more. They are 5-1 when scoring more points off turnovers than their opponent and 0-8 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. She has 122 points her last nine game, the most she's scored in nine straight games in her young career, and has raised her scoring average per game to a career high mark of 13.0, which ranks sixth in the MAC. Her streak of double digit scoring efforts ended at seven at Valparaiso as she scored nine points. Corral also ranks seventh in the MAC in free throw percentage (78.4%) and 10th in three-point percentage (38.0%)

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
Satavia Taylor's 6-for-6 three-point performance against Morehead State set the NIU record for accuracy behind the arc in a game. She ranks 13th in the MAC with a 36.7 three-point percentage.

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 431-456 (.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.

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 Home games can also be watched with live video through Huskie All-Access.




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