Feb. 3, 2012
Northern Illinois Huskies (9-12, 3-6 MAC) vs. Ohio Bobcats (10-13, 3-6 MAC)
NIU-Ohio Game Notes
Date: Saturday, February 4, 2012
Tipoff: 3:00 PM CT
Location: DeKalb, Ill. | NIU Convocation Center
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM DeKalb - Terry Ryan and Ethel Gregory on the call
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Northern Illinois plays its 11th home game of the year with its 29th all-time meeting against Ohio.
A Look at Ohio
Ohio enters the game having lost three of its last four and six of its last eight. The Bobcats average 60.0 points per game and give up 62.4. They are shooting 36.7 percent from the field and allow opponents to shoot 41.2 percent. Ohio features two players with double figure scoring averages in Tenishia Benson (14.1) and Shavon Robinson (10.3).
Last Time Versus Ohio
The two teams last met in DeKalb last year on March 6 in the first round of the MAC Tournament, and the Bobcats came out on top 72-56 to end Kathi Bennett's first season at NIU. Ohio jumped out to an insurmountable 35-20 lead in the first half thanks to a 57.7 percent shooting clip. For the game, Ohio shot 50 percent and held NIU to a 30.2 field goal percentage. Erin Bailes led Ohio with 23 points, while Ebony Ellis paced NIU with 18.
Danny Pulliam underwent successful knee surgery on Dec. 8. Pulliam will be out for the season with a torn meniscus and microfracture surgery in her right knee.
New Place, Same Result
Prior to NIU's 57-47 loss at Bowling Green on Wednesday, the Huskies had lost nine in a row to the Falcons and five straight at Anderson Arena. In the Huskies' first game at the new Stroh Center, the trend was not broken, unfortunately.
Fending the Falcons
Defensively, the Huskies held their own against Bowling Green, the only undefeated team in MAC play. The Falcons shot just 38.2 percent from the field and scored 57 points. Entering the game, the Falcons were averaging 67.7 points per game and were shooting 40.0 percent.
Over the last three games, Amanda Corral has found a nice scoring groove. She's scored in double figures in each game for an average of 14.3 points per game, which is the second time this season that she has reeled off such a three-game streak. She has also been accurate, going 13-for-26 (50%) from the field, including 6-for-8 (75%) from three-point land. On the season, she is averaging 9.6 points per game and shooting 39 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from behind the arc.
Return of the MAC
Since starting 0-4 in league play, NIU has rebounded to go 3-2.
For just the second time all year, the Huskies led a game from start to finish as they beat Kent State 66-55 last Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center. The only other game in which NIU has led the whole way was in a 47-43 win over Indiana State on Dec. 22.
No Flash in the Pan
Prior to Saturday's win over Kent State, NIU had not won a game against the Golden Flashes since 2006 -- a span of four games.
Threes to Victory
The Kent State win was fueled large in part by three-pointers as NIU established season highs in threes made and percentage by going 8-for-14 (57.1%). Courtney Shelton led the way with a 5-for-10 performance en route to a season- and game-high 23 points.
Fine at the Line
For the second game in a row, NIU used a sizeable free throw shooting edge to win. The Huskies went 18-for-22 at the stripe against Kent State, including going 14-for-18 over the final 15 minutes to seal the win. KSU managed to go just 4-for-8 on the day. Over the last seven games, NIU has gone 105-for-138 (76.0%) at the charity stripe while opponents have gone 77-for-131 (58.7%) -- a difference of 28 made and seven attempted.
O, What a Half
NIU's 45-point second half in the 72-66 win at Akron on Jan. 25 was the highest scoring half of the season for NIU, which led to the highest total output of the season as well. Prior to the half, NIU had not scored more than 52 points in an entire game for five straight contests.
Good Rhode Win
Prior to the win at Akron, NIU had not won at Rhodes Arena since 2006. Fittingly, the last two win for the Huskies at Akron were on the same exact day -- January 25 -- one in 2006 and the other in 2012.
Free to Win
A significant factor in the Akron win was NIU's 26-for-30 performance at the free throw line. The 86.7 percent accuracy mark was the second highest all season and the made and attempted totals were the highest in a regulation game all season.
Defense Couldn't Tame Bulls
NIU's 62-46 loss at home to Buffalo Jan. 22 featured an uncharacteristic performance from the defense, especially after a stellar defensive outing at Western Michigan the game prior. Buffalo posted 45.2 field goal and 60.0 three-point percentages. The mark from behind the arc was the second highest NIU has given up all season and the shooting percentage marked just the fifth time all season that NIU allowed an opponent to shoot above 40 percent.
Bulls Find a Rare W
Not only was Buffalo's win its first MAC win of the season, it ended a nine-game losing streak on the road and a five-game slide against the Huskies. The win was just the third for the Bulls over NIU as the Huskies lead the all-time series 13-3.
Second Chance Supreme
In all but two games, Kim Davis has pulled down at least one offensive rebound. She leads the team with 51 (2.4 per game) and ranks ninth in the MAC.
With NIU's win at Western Michigan on Jan. 19, a few streaks were ended. NIU stopped a four-game MAC losing streak and a six-game losing streak overall. The Huskies also put an end to WMU's six-game home MAC winning streak and a three-game winning streak against NIU.
Taming the Broncos
The Huskies put together one of their best defensive efforts of the season in the win at WMU. NIU totaled a season-high 10 steals and forced 22 turnovers, which is the second highest total of the season. The Huskies also gave up the second lowest point total (41) of the season and third lowest shooting percentage (28.8%).
Ripe at the Charity Stripe
To seal the WMU win, NIU connected went 8-for-11 from the free throw line in the final six minutes. Overall, the Huskies were 16-for-20 from the charity stripe against the Broncos. The 80 percent mark from the line was the third highest performance all year for NIU.
Second Half Surge
NIU's 32-21 second half surge at WMU was the key to victory as the Huskies held only a 21-20 lead at the half. The 11-point gap is the second highest total that NIU has outscored an opponent by in any half this season. The highest was at Chicago State in a 42-21 second half effort by the Huskies.
Keeping Up with Kim
One of the primary reasons for the second half surge at WMU was the Broncos inability to keep up with Kim Davis. The senior scored all 10 of her points in the second half and made all four field goal attempts. She also had two of her career-high three steals in the final stanza. The 10-point effort was her first double figure scoring game since Dec. 22 against Indiana State and was her third overall.
Three scorers reached double-figures against Kent State, which marked the eighth time this season that NIU has had three or more players score 10-plus points. Courtney Shelton led the way with 23. Amanda Corral had 14 and Claire Jakubicek had 13. NIU is 6-2 when having three or more players score in double figures this season.
I do DeClaire
Freshman Claire Jakubicek has led NIU in points in five of the last seven games, scoring 12 at Ball State, 15 versus Toledo, 14 against Buffalo, 18 at Akron, and 17 at Bowling Green. She also had 10 versus Western Michigan and 13 against Kent State. The double figure scoring games broke a four-game trend in which Jakubicek did not score in double figures. During the past seven games, her points per game average is at 14.1.
Home Court Advantage
The Huskies are 5-5 at home this year and are holding opponents to just 58.0 points per game, as opposed to the 60.7 points per game NIU allows on the road. NIU has also held opponents to a 37.0 field goal percentage at home, compared to a 38.3 percentage on the road.
As of Feb. 2, NIU ranks fourth in the MAC in opponent field goal percentage (37.7) and second in opponent three-point percentage (28.3). The Huskies are 8-7 when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting and are 5-3 when outshooting their foes. The Huskies also rank fourth in the MAC in scoring defense (59.4 PPG).
With rebounding margin of +3.9, NIU ranks fourth in the MAC and 71st in the NCAA as of Feb. 2. NIU's 73.7 percent defensive rebounding clip is tops in the league. The Huskies have outrebounded their opponents 15 times this year and are 9-6 when doing so.
The Right Touch
As of Feb. 2, freshman Claire Jakubicek ranks 12th in the MAC in field goal percentage (45.5). Her 21-point, 8-rebound, 5-assist performance at Chicago State was the first 20-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist game since Marke Freeman tallied 24 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds on Feb. 20, 2010, against Toledo.
An indication of a deep team, the Huskie bench has been outstanding through the early part of this season. NIU owns a 363-264 edge in points off the bench over its opponents. The only eight games NIU's bench has not outscored its opponent's bench is the Illinois Chicago (16-8), Eastern Illinois (18-11), DePaul (13-11), Ball State (31-9), Toledo (12-2), Western Michigan (17-8), Akron (17-15), and Bowling Green (22-6) games. All resulted in losses except the WMU and UA contests.
Double-Double on the Marke
Amanda Corral's 16-point, 10-rebound double-double against Temple was the first by an NIU guard since last year's leading scorer Marke Freeman poured in 23 points and 17 boards in a 56-48 win at Ohio on Jan. 1, 2011.
Corral repeated the feat at Indiana Dec. 17 with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Corraling MAC West Player of the Week
In just her first seven days of collegiate action, freshman Amanda Corral has already caught the MAC's attention, garnering MAC West Player of the Week on Nov. 21st. Corral led NIU to a 2-0 record by averaging 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
Percent of Production Returning
The Huskies return seven players from last year, including three starters in Kim Davis, Danny Pulliam, and Courtney Shelton, and welcome seven newcomers. In terms of production, NIU returns 64 percent of its minutes, 49 percent of its points, 45 percent of its rebounds, 71 percent of its assists, 44 percent of its blocks, and 53 percent of its steals.
Bennett's Year 2 Success
In Year 2 of each of her three prior head coaching stops throughout her career, Bennett has posted a combined win-loss total of 44-38. Her Year 2 win total has been an increase from Year 1 in two of the three stops. Indiana was the only place she did not have an increase, as she led the Hoosiers to 17 wins after totaling 20 in her first season in Bloomington.
Throughout her career, Bennett has faced all 23 of NIU's 2011-12 opponents and holds a 52-49 record against them.
NIU Picked to Finish 4th in MAC West
The Mid-American Conference coaches and select media chose the Huskies to finish fourth in the West Division this year in the MAC Preseason Poll.
Huskies Ink Three on Signing Day
On signing day on Nov. 9, NIU received National Letters of Intent from forward McKenzie Hoelmenn (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North), guard Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove), and forward Nichole Wittman (Hutchinson, Minn./Hutchinson), Hoelmenn is Max Preps' No. 3 player from Minnesota and No. 87 player in the nation. Max Preps ranks Wittman and Lindstrom No. 41 and No. 133 in their respective states.
For the fourth straight year, NIU's Graduation Success Rate (GSR) topped the 80 percent mark. With an 82 percent GSR, the Huskies sit two points above the four-class national average. The women's basketball team is one of four NIU programs to post a perfect 100 percent GSR as every freshman and transfer student-athlete who entered NIU between 2001-04 graduated.
NIU on TV
On Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, NIU's contest at Eastern Michigan was televised by the Mid-American Conference's regional cable partner SportsTime Ohio. The game will be NIU's only scheduled regular season TV appearance.
On the Air
Every NIU basketball game of the 2011-12 season can be heard on the Northern Illinois Sports Network, Presented by IMG. Women's games home and away can be heard on 1360-AM WLBK and Huskie All-Access at NIUHuskies.com. Home games can also be watched live through Huskie All-Access. Andy Garcia and Ethel Gregory will be on the call.
Up Next for NIU
The Huskies go a week between games as they next travel to Oxford, Ohio, to face Miami on Sat., Feb. 11, at 12 PM CT.