January 22, 2003
FINAL SCORE: NORTHERN
ILLINOIS 49, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 43
Secrest (Bloomfield, IN) scored eight of her team-high 11 points in the
final eight minutes as Northern Illinois outlasted Central Michigan, 49-43,
in Mid-American Conference women's basketball action here Wednesday (Jan.
Kristan Knake (Marengo)
and Monique Davis (Columbus, OH / Marion-Franklin) added ten apiece as
the Huskies climbed to 6-10 overall and 2-3 in the conference. Central
Michigan dropped its fourth game in a row, falling to 7-10 with a 1-5
"Our team showed
a lot of character tonight," Northern Illinois coach Carol Hammerle
said. "We had times where the ball didn't go in the hole during the
first half. In the past, we would have panicked, but we didn't do that
tonight. We stuck together as a team and played great defense."
That defense held
the Chippewas to 29.6 percent (16-of-54) shooting from the field. CMU
had just one basket in the final 5:23---Erin Kuhl's three-pointer at the
final horn. Northern Illinois forced 17 turnovers and out-rebounded Central
Michigan 39-35, led by a season-best 14 boards from Jennifer Youngblood
At the outset, NIU's
shooting was as frigid as the eight-degree weather outside the Convocation
Center as the Huskies missed their first ten attempts from the floor.
Knake's 18-footer out front snapped that streak, but the Chippewas built
a 16-3 lead on Casey Manning's seven-footer at the 11:16 mark. The lead
held at 13 points (18-5) before the Huskies closed the half on an 11-4
run---sparked by back-to-back tri-lighters from Secrest and Knake---to
close to within 22-16 at intermission.
missed 21 of 27 shots (22.2 percent) in the opening 20 minutes, while
CMU hit eight of 24 shots. No player had more than five points at the
The Huskies employed
a full-court press to start the second half, scoring five consecutive
points before Kuhl connected on a three-pointer. Knake came back with
a triple of her own to give the hosts their first lead of the night (27-25)
with 16:18 to play, but seven consecutive points temporarily put the Chippewas
back in control.
CMU held a 37-33 advantage
on Kuhl's tri-lighter with 7:48 to play, but Secrest hit two three-pointers
during an 8-0 rush to put Northern Illinois in command. Her third trey
of the night stretched the gap to 41-37, and the Huskies never looked
"Our team's history
has been to allow the other team to get four or six points to start the
second half," Hammerle noted. "We haven't been able to match
the opposition's intensity. So I thought we would start with the pressure,
and that paid big dividends for us."
Secrest had averaged
5.8 points per game in NIU's first ten contests this year, but is now
at 12.2 per outing in five MAC games since joining the starting line-up.
"If I'm out on
defense first, I can get my rhythm going," the junior forward explained.
"When I was coming off the bench, I would try to make a difference
right away and couldn't always get into the flow of the game. Tonight,
I just wanted a chance to score."
"We were much
more patient in the second half," Hammerle added. "At first,
we were rushing and making poor decisions on what to do with the ball.
But in the second half we showed a lot more poise."
Youngblood scored just four points but held CMU forward Desiree Eidson---the
league's sixth-leading scorer at 15 points per game---to just two tallies
and seven rebounds. Knake had a game-high five assists and Davis collected
soared to 52 percent (11-of-21) shooting in the second half, but still
finished at a mere 35.4 percent for the evening. That was good enough,
however, as CMU's rate was the lowest by a Huskie opponent since Wisconsin
shot just 25.9 percent in the season-opener on November 22. Kuhl was the
lone Chippewa in double figures with 13 points.
NIU concludes a two-game
homestand Saturday (Jan. 25) when Marshall comes to DeKalb for a 3:05
p.m. matinee. The Thundering Herd dropped to 5-10 with a 67-63, non-conference
loss to West Virginia on Wednesday, MU's fourth consecutive loss.
-30- -- Copy by