Jan. 14, 2011
|Northern Illinois (6-10, 0-3 MAC) vs. Western Michigan (4-12, 0-3 MAC)
||Saturday, January 15, 2011 • 1 p.m. CDT
||DeKalb, Ill. • Convocation Center
| On the Air
||Huskie All-Access (Live Audio/Video) • 1360 WLBK-AM (DeKalb)
NIU Games Notes | WMU Game Notes | GameTracker
| All-Time Series
||Toledo leads 21-15; NIU has won six of the last nine meetings
| Bennett Versus
||Bennett has never faced Western Michigan
||Faculty-Staff Appreciation Day, Victor E. Huskie's Birthday
DeKALB - The Northern Illinois women's basketball team (6-10, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) returns home after a two-game stint away from the Convocation Center to host Western Michigan (4-12, 0-3 MAC), Saturday at 1 p.m. The game is the first of a Huskie basketball doubleheader. The NIU men tip-off against Toledo at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday's doubleheader has double the reasons for celebration. NIU Athletics will honor NIU employees with Faculty-Staff Appreciation Day. Fans will also be celebrating NIU mascot Victor E. Huskie's birthday.
• Despite falling 42-31 at MAC West favorite Toledo, NIU head coach Kathi Bennett saw many positives in the Huskies' last outing: "I was really proud of our team in the first half because it would've been very easy to fall apart," Bennett said. "We really stayed together."
• Western Michigan and Northern Illinois split the season series last year in two very different looking games. In DeKalb, NIU played without regular starter Ebony Ellis, but still beat the Broncos by 26 points, 73-47. A month-and-a-half later, Western Michigan responded with a tightly contested 54-47 victory in Kalamazoo.
In its last two games, the NIU defense is holding opponents 21.3 points below their season scoring averages. The Huskies limited CMU, at the time the No. 1 scoring offense in the country at 86.9 ppg, to just 67. NIU then limited Toledo, which averaged 64.7 ppg, to just 42 points.
Can't Miss This
Marke Freeman became the 26th member of Northern Illinois' 1,000-Point Club during the Huskies' game at Central Michigan. She now has 1,017 career points, 25th-most in Huskie history, 10 points ahead of Jessie Wilcox, and eight point shy of former teammate Kylie York. The redshirt senior is in only her third season on the court with the Huskies after transferring from Florida A&M. She is the first player to reach the scoring milestone in just three seasons since Stephanie Raymond scored her 1,000th point in 2005-06. Raymond was the 20th pick in the WNBA draft one year later.
Western Michigan leads the all-times series with NIU, 25-17. With 42 contests, the Huskies have faced the Broncos more than any other opponent in NIU history. The series dates back to 1969, when the Huskies won the first meeting 42-18. NIU won the first three match-ups, and has won three of the last four meetings.
Ebony Ellis is 167 points off from 1,000, and would need to average 11.9 ppg in NIU's 14 guaranteed games to reach a grand. Ellis averaged 12.0 points per game last season, despite battling a foot injury for the bulk of the year, and, is averaging 10.7 points per game this season. If Ellis joins Freeman in the esteemed club, it would be the first time two Huskies passed the milestone in one season since Kristan Knake and Jennifer Youngblood did so in the 2002-03 season.
NIU stands as the most accurate three-point shooting team in the MAC, and the fourth-best three-point shooting team in the nation. The Huskiest have hit 40.6 percent of their attempts from distance, including knocking in 4-of-5 (80.0 percent) and 5-of-7 (71.4 percent) against UNI and SIU, respectively.
On the Mark-e
Marke Freeman ranks second in the nation in three-point shooting, hitting 49.3 percent of her threes. She has hit 33-of-67 attempts, including a 3-for-3 night at UNI and a 4-of-4 game against Northwestern. Freeman started the year hitting just 4-of-12 three-pointers, but has since shot 52.7 percent from downtown.
Failure to Launch
Toledo's offense managed only 42 points against a stifling NIU defense. It was the fewest points allowed by the Huskies since a 68-42 win over Central Michigan in 2006. It was the fewest points given up to an opponent in a loss since a 42-27 defeat to Wisconsin in 1974.
Defense Locking On
The Huskies are beginning to get the hang of Kathi Bennett's signature "pack" defense. NIU has held opponents to 40 percent shooting eight times this year. The Huskies are 4-4 in those games. NIU has limited its opponents to less than 40 percent shooting in every MAC game, with league opponents shooting just 35.1 percent against the Huskies.