DeKALB - The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team (7-9, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) closes out its first tour of the MAC West Division when it hosts Central Michigan (5-11, 2-2 MAC), Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Convocation Center.
Northern Illinois leads the all-time series between the schools 20-16, with a 13-4 advantage in DeKalb. NIU has won the last three meetings, and beaten the Chippewas in six of the last seven games.
Northern Illinois has beaten the Chippewas 10 straight times in DeKalb. The last CMU win in the Barb City was on Jan. 27, 1999. CMU went home with a three-point win, 67-64. NIU has won those 10 games by an average of 15.1 points.
ABOUT THE CHIPPEWAS
Central Michigan enters Wednesday’s affair with momentum after consecutive MAC wins over Ball State (87-80) and Western Michigan (74-65). The Chippewas snapped a four game losing streak with the victory over the Cardinals.
CMU has played the toughest schedule in the MAC, ranked 63rd nationally by RealTimeRpi.com. The Chips hold a signature 84-75 win over Louisville, and have lost to four teams with top-25 RPIs: DePaul (24), Illinois (25), Georgetown (12) and Texas (17).
Central Michigan is led in scoring by senior guard Britni Houghton at 14.4 points per game, but have three players averaging in double figures. Houghton is joined by Shonda Long (13.9 ppg) and Kaihla Szunko (10.8 ppg). Szunko is also one of the top rebounders in the MAC, averaging 9.1 boards per contest.
LAST TIME AGAINST CMU
The Huskies sent their seniors off as winners in their final regular season appearance at home by overcoming a 16-point deficit to defeat Central Michigan, 81-66, in the Convocation Center.
Trailing 43-33 with 18:11 left to play, the Huskies went on an 11-1 run to tie the game at 44-44. However, the Chippewas would not go away. Central Michigan scored four unanswered points and tried to regain control of the game. But Kylie York connected on a three pointer and Sarah Rogers hit a jumper to give NIU it’s first lead of the game, 49-48, with 10:23 left to play.
Down 50-49 with 10:11 left to play, the Huskies began to distance themselves from Cenral Michigan, going on an 11-2 run. York and senior Shari’ Welton hit some key threes during the stretch. A three by York, her sixth of a season-high seven in the game, gave NIU a 68-56 lead with 4:51 left to play.
York finished with a team-high 21 points, going 7-of-10 from the field, all from three-point territory. She also finished with four assists, tying her season high. The Huskies, as a team, shot very well from beyond the arc, hitting a season high 10 treys, going 10-of-22.
York was one of four Huskies to finish in double digits. Welton posted her season high in points, scoring 16. Marke Freeman scored 15 points, and Rossouw finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
ON THE AIR
Every NIU basketball game of the 2009-10 season can be heard on the Northern Illinois ISP Sports Radio Network. Women’s games can be heard on 1360-AM WLBK and online at www.niuhuskies.com through Huskie All-Access.
70 THE KEY
Northern Illinois is 5-0 when scoring more than 70 points, and just 1-6 when allowing their opponents to reach the 70-point plateau. NIU’s only win when allowing their opponents past 70 points was an 86-73 win over Bradley.
Current Central Michigan Head Coach Sue Guevara and NIU Associate Head Coach Molly Murray are well-acquainted, as Murray played under Guevara for two seasons at Michigan. Murray then worked with Guevara in a variety of roles for the Wolverines. Guevara and Murray coached current NIU assistant Heather Oesterle for four seasons in Ann Arbor.
ANOTHER RECORD TO CHASE
Senior Kylie York scored a season-high 23 points against Eastern Michigan. The outburst quickened her race to 1,000 points. York has scored 894 points in her career at NIU. That total includes 726 points on 242 career three-pointers made, the most in Huskie history. With 106 more points, York would become the 25th member of the NIU 1,000-Point Club.
SHUT DOWN “D”
The Huskies put together their best defensive performance of the season against Western Michigan. Northern Illinois held the Broncos to just 47 points, and 33.3 percent shooting from the field. WMU scored only 23 first half points, and mustered just 24 in the second. It was the lowest point total by an NIU opponent since holding Western Illinois to 45, Dec. 7, 2006.
Northern Illinois is in the midst of a home-heavy section of the 2010 schedule. NIU plays five of seven games at home from Jan. 9-30. The Eastern Michigan game was the only road contest during the stretch. The Huskies will have to take advantage of their travel-friendly January MAC schedule. After five home games in the first month of 2010, the Huskies will play at home just three times through the regular season’s end in early March.