DeKALB - The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team (8-12, 2-6 MAC) travels to the Buckeye State to take on MAC East leader Bowling Green (17-5, 7-1 MAC). The game will be a resilience test for each team, as both are coming off losses.
The Falcons holds a 17-12 edge in the all-time series, with an 11-5 lead in games played in Bowling Green. BGSU has won the last eight, but Northern Illinois’ last victory in the series was perhaps the most memorable. In a four-overtime thriller, NIU took a 102-97 win on the road, Feb. 24, 2004. The win capped a stretch of five Huskie wins in six games.
LAST TIME AGAINST BGSU
The Northern Illinois University women’s basketball dropped a heartbreaker, falling to Bowling Green, 76-70, in overtime at the Convocation Center.
Both teams entered play in first place in their respective divisions, with the Huskies owning a share of the lead in the MAC West, while Bowling Green entered play atop the MAC East and riding a 17-game winning streak.
Trailing 62-60 with 38 seconds left in regulation, Bowling Green’s Tracy Pontius hit a three pointer to give the Falcons a one point lead with 20 seconds left to play. Bowling Green had a chance to add to its lead when Niki McCoy was fouled after forcing an NIU turnover. However, McCoy missed her free throw and Mauvolyene Adams was fouled in the scramble for the rebound, sending her to the free throw line for a one-and-one.
Adams hit the first free throw, to tie the contest at 63 with 10 seconds left to play. Her second attempt failed to fall, giving the Falcons enough time to move the ball up court for one last shot. Pontius’ layup missed, and the game was sent into overtime. It was the fourth overtime game for the Huskies last season, with all four taking place at home.
The Falcons opened overtime with a 7-2 run, jumping out to a 70-65 lead with 2:39 left to play. A jumper by Jessie Wilcox with 1:17 left pulled NIU to within three, but that would be as close as the Huskies would get as Bowling Green was able to hold on for the victory.
Wilcox finished with a team-high 19 points, leading four Huskies who finished in double figures. Adams turned in her best game of the season, scoring a season-high 15 points, going 7-for-13 from the field. Ebony Ellis posted her second-straight double-double and seventh of her career, finishing with 14 points and a game-high 12 boards. Marke Freeman rounded out the quartet with 10 points.
The Falcons had three players finish in double figures with Pontius leading all scorers with 31 points. She was 8-for-15 from the field, hitting 5-of-7 from three-point territory. As a team, Bowling Green shot 25-of-60 from the field, including 12-23 from three-point land.
The Huskies won the battle on the glass, outrebounding the Falcons, 51-34. It was NIU’s highest rebounding total since grabbing 52 at Northern Iowa
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.
Marke Freeman is the only player in the Mid-American Conference to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game. Her 22.1 points per game lead the league, while her 4.6 assists per game are fourth best. She also ranks 12th in rebounding with a 6.4 average.
Junior Marke Freeman was named MAC West Player of the Week, Monday, Jan. 25, after averaging 25.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game against Central Michigan and Buffalo. Freeman scored a career-high 36 against the Bulls, including two late lay-ups that finished a 16-point NIU comeback to send the game to overtime. The award is the second in three weeks for the Springfield, Ill. native. With Ebony Ellis’ two Player of the Week selections, NIU has earned the honor four times in a season for the first time since rejoining the MAC in 1997-98.
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 937 points in her career at NIU. That total includes 768 points on 256 career three-pointers made, the most in Huskie history.
“GUARDING” THE BOARDS
Northern Illinois guards Marke Freeman and Sarah Rogers both rank in the MAC’s top-20 for rebounding in conference play. They are also the two shortest players on the list. Rogers, who stands 5-8, ranks eighth in the league with 7.5 boards per game. At just 5-5, Freeman ranks tied for 12th with 6.4 per contest. Only one other guard is in the rankings. Freeman and Rogers are the only guards on the league’s top-20.
BIG MARGINS IN OVERTIME
Since last season, NIU has gone 5-1 in overtime games. In the four wins, the Huskies have outdone their opponents by 6.9 points per game. Most recently, NIU beat Buffalo 93-88 after trailing by as much as 16 in the second half. The Huskies also defeated Loyola in OT this season, downing the Ramblers on the road, 74-65.
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 55 assists in the last 11 match-ups (5.0 per game). That total includes a career-best nine-assist night against Toledo. Her rebounding is also up, from 3.7 to 6.4 per game.
HEARTS ON SLEEVES
Northern Illinois has overcome three second-half deficits of nine or more this season. The Huskies trailed to Buffalo with 13 minutes left, and came back to win by five in overtime. NIU outscored UIC by 16 over the last nine minutes to extinguish the Flames by seven. The Huskies were down by 14 with 12 minutes left at Chicago State and came back to win by five. NIU also held off a charging Loyola team to win on the road by 10 in overtime.
HAY-WOOD YA BLOCK A SHOT?
Freshman forward Shaakira Haywood has wasted no time making herself known to players who venture into the paint. Haywood ranks 15th in the MAC in total blocked shots with seven in league play. The rookie swatted three attempts from Western Illinois, blocked consecutive tries by IUPUI, and had two key rejections in the win over Buffalo. She is averaging 2.3 blocks per 40 minutes played.