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DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team (7-10, 1-4 MAC) plays the first of six games against opponents from the Mid-American Conference East, when it faces Buffalo (5-13, 1-4 MAC), Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Convocation Center.
THE SERIES Northern Illinois leads the all-time series 11-2, with a 6-1 advantage in DeKalb. The Huskies have won the last four meetings in the Barb City, dating back to 2002. Buffalo’s wins against the Huskies came in January of that season, and in the MAC Tournament last year.
ABOUT THE BULLS The Bulls enter Saturday’s contest with the same record as NIU in the MAC, 1-4. The Bulls have gone 5-13 overall, and have lost their last three on the road.
Buffalo is led by All-MAC forward Kourtney Brown. She is averaging a double-double, ranking sixth in the MAC with 17.2 points and leading the conference with 11.5 rebounds per game. She also is second in the league in field goal percentage at 55.4 percent.
Behind Brown, Brittany Hedderson and Jessica Fortman both score in double-figures with 10.9 and 10.6 points per game, respectively.
LAST TIME AGAINST UB The Huskies’ run in the 2009 Kraft MAC Tournament came to an abrupt end when the Huskies fell to Buffalo, 57-52, in the first round game at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Huskies struggled offensively, shooting 28.8 percent from the field, going 19-of-66 for the game and just 8-of-36 in the second half. Despite its poor shooting from the field, NIU was able to build a five-point lead with its free throw shooting. Ellis, Marke Freeman and Kylie York collectively went five of six from the line to give the Huskies a 49-44 lead with seven minutes left to play.
Down 50-48 with 3:34 on the clock, Buffalo’s Kourtney Brown tied the game with a layup, and a layup by Jessica Fortman gave the Bulls their first lead of the game, 52-50, with 2:49 left to play.
The Huskies still had a chance with under a minute to play when Buffalo’s Dayna Smith missed a jumper. However, the Bulls’ Jamie Schiebner grabbed the offensive rebound and scored her only points of the game on a put back to give UB a four-point lead with 43 seconds left to play.
Three Huskies finished in double figures with Freeman leading the way with 13 points, while Jessie Wilcox finished with 12, all coming in the first half. The senior guard scored her 1,000th-career point on her third field goal of the game, finishing her Huskie career with 1,007 points. Ellis posted her seventh double-double of the season and ninth of her career, scoring 10 points and grabbing a game-high 14 boards.
Buffalo shot 42.6 percent from the field for the game and had three players finish in double figures with Brown leading all scorers with 17 points and grabbing 13 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.
ANOTHER RECORD TO CHASE Senior Kylie York is en route to becoming the 25th member of the Northern Illinois 1,000-Point Club. York has scored 903 points in her career at NIU. That total includes 735 points on 245 career three-pointers made, the most in Huskie history.
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.
HOME COOKIN’ Northern Illinois wraps up a home-heavy section of the 2010 schedule with Buffalo. 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.
CREATIVE SIDE Marke Freeman has been creating for her teammates at a high rate over the last seven games. After averaging 2.4 assists for the first nine games of the year, she’s dished out 44 assists in the last eight match-ups (5.6 per game). That total includes a career-best nine-assist night against Toledo. Her rebounding is also up, from 3.7 to 5.4 per game.
TERRIFIC TRIUMVIRATE Northern Illinois is the only school in the Mid-American Conference to feature three scorers that rank in the league’s top-17. Marke Freeman ranks fifth at 17.2 points per game, followed by Ebony Ellis in 15th at 13.4, and Mauvolyene Adams is 17th with 12.2 ppg.
STRONG FINISHERS Northern Illinois finished its last three non-conference games, all wins, in top fashion. The Huskies outscored Loyola by 10 in overtime. NIU followed by outdueling UIC by 16 points over the last nine minutes to win by seven. Most recently, the Huskies came back from 14 points down with 12 minutes left to beat Chicago State by five.
A NEW CAREER LEADER Kylie York, the lone senior for the Huskies, hit four three-pointers against Loyola to become the top three-point shooter in NIU history. York surpassed the previous NIU record of 221 career treys, held by Denise Dove since 1991, and now has 245 for her career. York holds the second and third slot for threes in a season. She hit 77 as a sophomore, knocked down 76 last season, and ranks fourth in the MAC with 44 makes this year.
ILLINOIS ON MY MIND The Huskies wrapped up non-conference play with three consecutive wins over in-state rivals. For the season, NIU played eight teams from Illinois, accumulating a 5-3 record with wins over Bradley, Southern Illinois, Loyola, UIC, and Chicago State.
SHE GIVES... Marke Freeman dished out a season-best nine assists against Toledo, demonstrating that her play-making ability goes well beyond scoring. In league play, she ranks second in the league in MAC play with 5.4 assists per game.
...AND TAKES Marke Freeman leads the MAC in steals with 2.76 per game. She set a career-high with eight steals at No. 24 Nebraska. The junior swiped three in the first half and five in the second period. The total is tied for the fifth-most in a game in NIU history. That record is currently held by Huskie head coach Carol Owens, who totaled 11 steals against Western Illinois in 1988.
THREE-FENSE Northern Illinois ranks first in the Mid-American Conference at defending the three-pointer. Huskie opponents have hit just 28.5 percent (81-of-284) of their downtown tries. The Huskies are narrowly ahead of Toledo, which is allowing 28.7 percent (96-of-335) from behind the arc.