Huskies Seek First MAC Road Win at Miami

GO HUSKIES Amanda Corral has scored 10-or-more points in the Huskies four MAC games this season.
Amanda Corral has scored 10-or-more points in the Huskies four MAC games this season.

NIU-Miami Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Jan. 17, 2014

Game 15
at Miami (Oxford, Ohio)
Saturday, January 18 (1 p.m.)
Live Stats:
Radio: WLBK 98.9 FM; 1360 AM; NIUTube (5:45 p.m. pregame)
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia
Twitter: @NIUscores

Northern Illinois is seeking its first road victory of the early Mid-American Conference season Saturday afternoon when it takes on Miami (Ohio). Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. Central at Millett Hall.

Northern Illinois women’s basketball can be followed in a myriad of ways throughout the season. Audio of all of NIU’s games will be available for fans to listen to live and on on-demand (subscription required). Play-by-play man Andy Garcia, now in his third year, will be on the call for all of NIU’s games this season and is joined by former Huskie assistant coach Ethel Gregory during home games. Fans can also follow the team on Facebook and Twitter. Like “NIU Huskies” on Facebook and follow @GoHuskiesWBB and @NIUathletics on Twitter. Gameday updates and scores from all women’s basketball games can be followed on Twitter @NIUscores.

The Huskies are halfway through its season with 14 games down and 14 left. NIU is 6-8 overall this season and 2-2 in the MAC, an improvement from last season as Northern Illinois was 5-10 and 0-4 in conference.

Saturday’s game will be the 31st meeting in the all-time series, with Miami leading Northern Illinois, 16-14. The Redhawks owned the early meetings in the series but it has been the Huskies that have dominated as of late, going 7-3 in the last 10 meetings with Miami. NIU last won at Millett Hall February 11, 2012, defeating MU, 70-58. The Redhawks won the last meeting between the pair, downing the Huskies on February 3, 2013 at the Convocation Center, 65-51.

Northern Illinois made its first trip to Michigan of the year to take on Central Michigan Wednesday night at McGuirk Arena. NIU did not back down against the defending Mid-American Conference champion Chippewas as it jumped out to an 11-2 lead through the first five minutes of the game and eventually built a 12 point lead. CMU made a run of its own that resulted in a 25-24 Chips lead with 5:14 left, but the Huskies battled back to regain the lead at halftime, 32-29.

Both NIU and CMU jockeyed for position for the entire second half as the team’s were never separated by more than six points in the game. The Huskies contained the multiple offensive threats of the Chippewas, but had to fend off Crystal Bradford in the game, who finished with 27 points and 15 rebounds in the game, recording the double-double in the first half of the game.

While Bradford tired down the stretch and began cramping, the Huskies defense held its own and began mounting a comeback charge late in the game. A layup by Danny Pulliam with 25.8 seconds left and a three-pointer by Ashley Sneed with 7.0 seconds left, put NIU back within three points late, but the Huskies fell, 65-60.

Pulliam led the team in scoring with a career-high 18 points and was followed closely behind Natecia Augusta, who recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Miami is 5-10 overall this season and 1-3 in the Mid-American Conference, taking its first conference matchup Wednesday evening versus MAC East favorite Akron, 79-76. MU lost to Western Michigan, at Ohio and at Toledo to open the conference before defeating the Zips. The Redhawks played tough with Florida State earlier in the season (December 1) as MU led the Seminoles 35-29 at halftime in Millett Hall. FSU battled back in the second half against the Redhawks, outscoring them 42-27 to take the contest, 71-62.

Hannah Robertson leads Miami offensively with 13.3 points per game this season and is also averaging 2.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds as well. Nicole Anderson is fourth on the Redhawks squad in scoring but is leading MU in rebounding at 6.4 boards per contest. Haley Robinson is pacing the team in assists 2.4 helpers per game.

As a team, Miami is shooting .343 from behind the arc, the third-best average in the conference overall. The Redhawks are also making 6.5 three point baskets per game. Defensively, Kelsey Simon has 10 blocks this year, tied for the ninth-best mark in the MAC.

“They had a really big home win against Akron on Wednesday. They really like to attack in a lot of ways. They like to shoot threes, they really like to shoot pull-up jumpers and they like to get to rim a lot with their bigs so its really three faceted offensively. We have to be close out and not get beat off the dribble. With their sets and actions, they do a lot of pass and cut, they don’t stand. We can’t ball watch, we have to jump to every pass and know where our player is and be there in our gap for help. Offensively, we can get out and run, as well as attack them. We have to give what the defense is going to give us and not predetermine what we expect to see.”

Assistant Coach Debbie Whitman is in her second season at Northern Illinois, after spending last season as the Director of Basketball Operations. Whitman played at NIU from 1989-1993 and was a member of the Huskies 1989-90 Hall of Fame team.

The Huskies had one of their best defensive performances last time out at MAC juggernaut Central Michigan. The Chippewas averaged over 90 points in their first three MAC games but were held to 65 by Northern Illinois. While NIU lost the game, the defensive performance put the Huskies into elite company. It was CMU’s second-lowest performance since a pair of 63-point performances versus No. 2 Duke and Kansas. The Chips were held to 29 points at halftime, also their second-lowest effort since 28 point efforts against Marquette and Notre Dame.

At Central Michigan, like she has for most of the season, redshirt junior Danny Pulliam led the Huskies charge during the game. Her competitive fire led the Huskies as they led by as much as 12 and only trailed by six in the game. Offensively, Pulliam scored a career-high 18 points, going 7-of-11 from the field to set a new career-high in field goals made. She was also 4-for-6 from behind the arc in the game, which also set a new career-high in three point shots made.

Northern Illinois has the top defensive mark in three-point field percentage amongst teams in the Mid-American Conference, allowing opponents to shoot .264 in 14 games this season. Though it’s the top mark in the MAC, it’s also the 16th lowest average in the NCAA, six points below the nation’s leader, Oklahoma State.

Through four Mid-American Conference games, NIU is No. 1 in the conference in four different team categories this season. The Huskies lead the MAC in field goal percentage (.463) and three-point field goal percentage (.366), as well as field goal percentage defense (.346) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.208).

Though the Huskies four MAC games this season, junior Amanda Corral has reached double figures in each of them to post an average 18 points per game in the MAC. Corral scored a career-high 30 points versus Eastern Michigan on January 12. Prior to that at Toledo, Corral scored 20 points. She is fourth in the MAC in scoring, behind Akron’s Rachel Tecca (21.8) and Hanna Luburgh (20.5), and Central Michigan’s Crystal Bradford (21.3). 

Redshirt junior Jenna Thorp attacked the ball off the rim January 12 versus Eastern Michigan, as she accounted for a career-high 13 rebounds. Thorp grabbed two off the offensive glass and 11 on the defensive glass in her first start of the 2014 calender year. It was the first time in the Hinckley, Ill. native’s career that she accounted for 10-or-more rebounds in a game as her previous best was a nine rebound effort against Western Illinois November 16, 2011.

After grabbing seven boards at Central Michigan, Thorp is averaging 10 rebounds per game over the last two contests.

The Huskies return home for a contest against MAC East foe Buffalo Thursday, January 23 to avenge their loss to the Bulls in the first round of last year’s MAC Tournament. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.




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