Jan. 13, 2012
Northern Illinois Huskies (6-9, 0-3 MAC) vs. Toledo (8-7, 1-2 MAC)
NIU-UT Game Notes
Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Tipoff: 1:00 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 eighth home game of the year with its 39th all-time meeting with Toledo.
NIU Football Trophies on Display
The NIU football team's MAC Championship and GoDaddy.com Bowl trophies will be present at Saturday's NIU women's and men's basketball games. Huskie fans will have the chance to see and take photos of the two magnificent trophies that were earned during one of the best seasons in NIU football history.
A Look at Toledo
Toledo enters the game as losers of five of its last eight games. The Rockets average 63.2 points per game and give up 58.7. They are shooting 40.4 percent from the field and allow opponents to shoot 38.9 percent. UT features two scorers averaging double figures in Andola Dortch (13.7) and Courtney Ingersoll (11.8). UT will be without the services of reigning MAC Player of the Year Naama Shafir, who tore her ACL in her right knee on Nov. 25.
Last Time Versus Toledo
The two teams last met in DeKalb last year on Feb. 26, and the Huskies came out on top 57-53 to split the season series. NIU received two large performances from seniors Marke Freeman (22 pts., 4 reb.) and Ebony Ellis (19 pts., 16 reb.) on Senior Night to upset the 2009-10 defending MAC champions.
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.
Both NIU Head Coach Kathi Bennett (1996-2000) and UT Head Coach Tricia Cullop (2000-08) have fronted the Evansville Aces. In fact, Cullop took over for Bennett at Evansville as Bennett took the head gig at Indiana. In Bennett's four seasons at Evansville, she compiled a 51-61 mark and made NCAA and WNIT appearances. Cullop tallied a 123-110 record with the Aces and made a WNIT appearance.
Knowing How to Assemble the Hall
This season, both NIU and UT have gone to Indiana's historic Assembly Hall and come out victorious. The Rockets struck first with a 69-58 win on Nov. 25 and the Huskies followed with a 60-59 win on Dec. 17.
No Bark from Behind the Arc
In NIU's loss at Ball State, the Huskies did not make any of its four three-point attempts. It's the third time NIU has not recorded a made three in a game this season. The Huskies are 1-2 when only scoring from inside the arc as they lost at Loyola and won at home over Southern Illinois in the other two games without any treys.
I do DeClaire
Freshman Claire Jakubicek led NIU in scoring at Ball State with 12 points. The double figure scoring game was her first over the last four games and fifth overall this year.
NIU's current five-game losing streak is tied for the longest positive or negative streak for the Huskies under second-year Head Coach Kathi Bennett. The other streak was also a five-game losing streak from Jan. 3-15 last season.
Since playing her first game as a Huskie on Dec. 11 at Chicago State, junior Loyola-transfer Satavia Taylor has found her comfort zone lately. Over the last five games, she has scored in double figures three times, averaging 11.2 points per game. In two of her last three games, she has produced a career-best and team-high 17 and 14 points, respectively. Prior to the last five games, her season scoring average was at 7.3 and is now at 9.4.
All Over the Court
Over the last six games, senior guard Courtney Shelton has logged at least 31 minutes in each game for a 34.6 average. Her 39 minutes played at Eastern Michigan and at Ball State were a career high.
Mini Road Trips
The just-completed EMU-BSU trip marked the first of only two stretches in which NIU will play two straight road games during MAC play. The other trip will have NIU at Central Michigan on Feb. 22 and Toledo on Feb. 25 to wrap up the MAC regular season slate. The road layout is a far cry from last year's schedule that featured a trio of three-game-or-more road trips, including starting the season with 10 of the first 11 games away from home.
Chips in the Defense
In the seven games prior to NIU's loss to Central Michigan, the Huskie defense had held every opponent under 38.3 percent shooting and had not given up more than 72 points. The Chippewas ended the dominant defensive run by shooting 51.6 percent and scoring 86 points. The percentage was the highest NIU had given up since letting Illinois State shoot 52.9 percent on Nov. 26. The points were the most NIU had given up all year.
Entering MAC Play 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 was 6-6 through non-conference play and had 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 got her feet wet again with three minutes of action on Thursday against Central Michigan. She then played 20 minutes versus Eastern Michigan, totaling four points, three assists, two rebounds, and one steal. At Ball State, she was on the floor for six minutes. Prior to missing the six games before that, 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.
Three scorers reached double-figures 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 shoot on the road than at home as the Huskies have posted a 38.9 field goal percentage on the road compared to a 36.6 mark at home.
Home Court Advantage
The Huskies are 4-3 at home this year and are holding opponents to just 59.1 points per game, as opposed to the 63.0 points per game NIU allows on the road. NIU has also held opponents to a 35.2 field goal percentage at home, compared to a 39.3 percentage on the road.
Courting the Three-Point Line
As of Jan. 12, the Huskies rank third in the MAC in three-point field goal percentage at 34.9, led by Courtney Shelton's league-sixth-best 36.9 percentage. Helping her percentage was a season-best 5-for-7 performance at Indiana Dec. 17. Her 1.7 threes made per game are good for eighth in the league.
As of Jan. 12, NIU ranks third in the MAC in opponent field goal percentage (37.3). The Huskies are 6-5 when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting and are 4-3 when outshooting their foes. The Huskies also rank fourth in the MAC in scoring defense (61.2 PPG).
With rebounding margin of +3.6, NIU ranks fifth in the MAC and 81st in the NCAA, as of Jan. 12. The Huskies have outrebounded their opponents 11 times this year and are 6-5 when doing so.
The Right Touch
As of Jan. 12, freshman Claire Jakubicek ranks 10th in the MAC in field goal percentage (44.9). 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 314-181 edge in points off the bench over its opponents. The only four games NIU's bench has not outscored its opponent's bench is the Illinois Chicago (16-8), Eastern Illinois (18-11), DePaul (13-11), and Ball State (31-9) games, and all four resulted in losses.
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 49-46 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 contest at Eastern Michigan was 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. Andy Garcia and Ethel Gregory will be on the call.
Up Next for NIU
The Huskies head to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on Western Michigan Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6 PM CT to wrap up the first round of West Divisional play.