Jan. 25, 2014
vs Bowling Green (Bowling Green, Ohio)
Sunday, January 23 (1 p.m.)
Live Stats: BGSUFalcons.com
Radio: WLBK 98.9 FM; 1360 AM; NIUTube (12:45 p.m. pregame)
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia
TV: Time Warner Cable Sports, BCSN; ESPN3; Comcast Chicago (Tape Delay 3 p.m.)
Play-by-Play: Mike Cairns and Jacki Windon
HUSKIES TO FACE MAC EAST No. 1 BOWLING GREEN
The NIU women's basketball team is headed back to Ohio this weekend as it takes on Bowling Green on Sunday, January 26 for a 1 p.m. tipoff at the Stroh Center.
SET YOUR DVR
The Huskies contest at Bowling Green on Sunday will be live on Time Warner Cable Sports, BCSN, ESPN3 and ESPN's Full Court package. It will be replayed on tape delay in Chicagoland on Comcast Chicago at 3 p.m. Radio fans can listen to Andy Garcia live on WLBK 98.9 FM and 1360 AM.
FOLLOW THE HUSKIES ALL SEASON LONG
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-demand (subscription required). Play-by-play man Andy Garcia, now in his third year, will be on the call for the Huskies 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 found @NIUscores.
THE HUSKIES AND THE FALCONS
Northern Illinois and Bowling Green have long been foes on the basket- ball court, having first met in the AIAW era (pre-NCAA) December 1, 1979. The Falcons took the first game in the series, 79-78, and own a 21-12 series lead. NIU has not defeated BGSU in the last 11 meetings, all regular season matchups, and last triumphed over the Falcons February 18, 2004 at Anderson Arena in Bowling Green... After four overtime periods, 102-97. See more about the game on page nine of the notes.
LAST TIME OUT
NIU returned to the Convocation Center to host Buffalo Thursday night, after playing on a two game road trip. The Huskies started and ended the first half strong as it only trailed the Bulls, 24-23, heading back into their locker room. Junior Jenna Thorp was spark plug for NIU in the half, accounting for eight points and six rebounds.
NIU ended the first half with momentum in their favor and carried that momentum into the second frame as it started out on a 6-2 run to lead UB, 29-26. Buffalo began to nip at the Huskies lead and overtook NIU with 13:46 remaining. Northern Illinois was unable to convert baskets when it needed as the Bulls built a double-digit lead on the Huskies.
Northern Illinois attempted a late comeback but it was too late as it fell to Buffalo, 63-52. Thorp finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double. NIU was almost flawless at the free throw line, shooting 14-of-15 from the line. UB was 20-of-27 at the charity stripe. Both teams combined for a field goal percentage of .318.
SCOUTING THE BULLS
Bowling Green has been one of the Mid-American Conference's top teams in 2013-14 as they hold a 15-3 record overall and are 5-1 in the MAC with its only loss coming to Central Michigan last Saturday. The Falcons went 2-1 against the Big Ten during preseason, defeating Michigan (63-52) and Ohio State (64-52), but falling to Purdue (57-48). The feat earned Bowling Green several votes in the AP poll for most of the season, until recently falling to the Chippewas.
Alexis Rogers has been the all-everything for the Falcons this season as she's averaging 14.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, first and second on the squad, respectively. She's twice been named the MAC East Player of the Week this season. Jillian Halfhil has been a solid scorer for BGSU and the top-distributor on offense as she's scoring 12.1 points and 3.4 assists per game. Jill Stein has been the workhorse in the post as she's averaging 9.0 rebounds per game this season. Bowling Green is the top defense in the MAC as they are only allowing its opponents to score 57.6 points per contest, while averaging 70.1 itself.
MIDSEASON STOCK REPORT
Entering Thursday's game, Northern Illinois played 15 games and owned a record of 7-8 with a register of 3-2 in the Mid-American Conference. Last season through 15 games, the Huskies were 5-10 and were winless in the MAC with an 0-2 mark. NIU is scoring 7.0 more points, grabbing 5.0 more rebounds and turning the ball 4.0 less times per game than last season.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE
Northern Illinois will be seeking its first win over the Falcons since 2004, when the Huskies won at Bowling Green after four overtime periods, 102-97. Director of Basketball Operations Stephanie Smith was a member of that Huskies squad that defeated BGSU. NIU had five players on the squad that played 40-or-more minutes in that game, including Jennifer Young- blood, who played a total of 55 minutes.
In that affair, the Huskies and Falcons were tied 12 times and traded the lead 15 times. BGSU led at halftime, but NIU stormed back in the second half to clinch overtime. A 13-9 run in the fourth overtime secured the Huskies victory and improved the team to 10-14 overall and 5-8 in the MAC. The box score from the game can be found on page nine of the notes.
If someone were to describe Jenna Thorp as the heart and soul of the NIU women's basketball team on Thursday night versus Buffalo, not many would be able to object. The Hinckley, Ill. native finished 5-for-11 from the field and 2-for-3 at the free throw line for a total of 12 points. Thorp continued her stellar run as a rebounder for the Huskies, pulling down 12 boards for NIU, including five on the offensive glass. On her last rebound of the first half, Thorp dove for a ball that bulleted off the front of the rim and began bouncing towards the sideline. The junior saved the ball and flipped it to Alexis Lindstrom, sliding into the operations table for her sixth board of the game. She finished with 11 rebounds in the game, two shy of a career-high set earlier this year. Thorp became the third Huskie this season to post a double-double, joining Natecia Augusta (4) and Ally Lehman (1).
SHARING THE DOUBLE-DOUBLE LOAD
As previously mentioned, NIU has had three players -- Natecia Augusta, Ally Lehman and Jenna Thorp -- record double-doubles this season. The last time three-or-more Huskie players recorded doubles in a season was in 2010-11, when Kim Davis, Ebony Ellis and Marke Freeman combined for 17 double-doubles. The Huskies have currently combined for six double-doubles this season, with Augusta pacing Northern Illinois with four.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES
Northern Illinois shot .933 from the charity stripe Thursday night versus Buffalo, the Huskies highest clip of the 2013-14 season. It was the first time NIU attempted 15-or-more free throws in a game and shot better than .900 from the line since February 12, 2011 at Buffalo. Northern Illinois shot 15-of-16 from the charity stripe to post a .938 average.
OFFENSIVE BOARDS AT A PREMIUM
The Huskies pulled down 16 offensive boards against the Bulls on January 29 at the Convocation Center, the most by NIU since ear- lier this season when it pulled down 16 at New Mexico State November 29. Versus Mississippi Valley State in the home opener, Northern Illinois grabbed 21 rebounds on the offensive glass, a season-high.
WHERE THEY RANK
Both Amanda Corral and Danny Pulliam are ranked in the top-250 in the NCAA in their own respective statistical categories. Corral is 168th in the country in field goal percent- age, an impressive feat for a guard, with a clip of .448, 232nd in points per game with 14.9 and 243rd in free throw percentage at .769. Pulliam is 81st in assist/turnover ratio at 1.86. For a complete ranking of the Huskies statistically in the MAC and the NCAA, turn to page nine of the notes.
THE HUSKIES GOT HANDLES
Northern Illinois has been amongst the top-50 in the NCAA for most of the season in fewest turnovers per game. Currently, the Huskies are No. 30 in the country and No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference in turnovers per game at 13.6 per game. The Huskies are averaging just over 59 field goal attempts per game and by adding 14, the number the turnovers, NIU is averaging 73 possessions a game. Putting that into context, Northern Illinois is only committing a turnover every 5.3 possessions.
The Huskies have played great around the perimeter this season thanks strong play by Northern Illinois' back court and the return of junior Danny Pulliam. NIU is only allowing its opponents to shoot .275 from the field this season, the top-mark in the back and the 31st average in the nation. The Huskies best performance of the season was at Illinois State on December 5 when Northern Illinois did not allow the Redbirds to make a single shot (0-for-11). NIU has twice only allowed one shot in a game, first at Bradley (1-for-9) and UIC (1-for-7). The Huskies best road performance was at Toledo on January 9 as the Rockets made 2-of-10 shots.
SO MANY BOARDS, SHE COULD BUILD A DECK
Since re-entering the starting lineup January 12 versus Eastern Michigan, redshirt junior Jenna Thorp has been attacking the ball off the rim and averaging 9.0 rebounds per game. Against the Eagles, she accounted
for a career-high 13 rebounds, grabbings two off the offensive glass and 11 on the defensive glass. 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. She accounted for seven rebounds at both Central Michigan and Miami, but came down with five offensive rebounds versus the Redhawks, one shy of her career-high.
Whatever Head Coach Kathi Bennett is telling her team at halftime of games this season is working as the Huskies have scored 40-or-more points in four of the last six games. The margin between Northern Illinois and its Mid-American Conference opponents in the second half is quite substantial as as the Huskies are outscoring them, 230-199. Only Central Michigan and Buffalo has scored more points in the second half and held NIU to fewer than 40 points in the second half of games.
SECOND HALF SHOOTING AND SECOND HALF DEFENSE
Since MAC play started, Northern Illinois has executed offensively and defensively in the second half. NIU has shot 76-of-172 (.442) from the field and limited its opponents, Ohio, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Miami to 54-of-155 (.348) from the field. NIU is outscoring its opponents in the second half, 38-33.
The Huskies will return home for a showdown with another MAC East foe, Kent State, on Wednesday January 29. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the NIU Convocation Center.