NIU TIPS OFF AT AKRON SATURDAY
The Northern Illinois women’s basketball (8-13, 2-7 Mid-American Conference) faces Akron (13-9, 7-2 MAC), Saturday at 1 p.m. (CST) in the Huskies’ last MAC cross-divisional road contest.
Northern Illinois leads the all-time series 16-5 with a perfect 8-0 record in DeKalb. The teams have each won five games in Akron.
The Huskies won the last match-up, and own victories in five of the last six contests. As members of the North Star Conference from 1988-1992, Northern Illinois won eight of nine contests.
LAST TIME AGAINST AKRON
Sophomore Mauvolyene Adams scored a season-high 17 points to lead the Northern Illinois University women’s basketball team to a 73-66 victory over Akron at the Convocation Center.
Adams went 7-of-9 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free throw line and was one of three Huskies to finish in double figures. Ebony Ellis and Jessie Wilcox each finished with 15 points and Ellis posted her third-straight double double, grabbing a game-high 10 boards. It was her sixth double double of the season and eighth of her career.
Down 43-27 with 18:27 left to play, Akron went on a 14-2 run, to cut the deficit to four with 13:10 left in the contest. With NIU up 49-45 with 11:41 left, The Huskies rattled off an 8-2 run of its own to push the lead to 10 with, 57-47, with 7:30 left to play, but the Zips refused to go away.
Down 64-57 with 3:26 left in the game, Akron’s Kara Murphy went on a 7-3 to pull the Zips to within three with 49 seconds left to play. That would be as close as the score would get. Adams and Marke Freeman each hit 2-of-2 from the free throw line to seal the victory for NIU.
Murphy led all scorers with 27 points and was one of three Zips to finish in double figures. She went 7-for-15 from the field and 13-for-15 from the charity stripe. Akron outshot the Huskies from the field, shooting 45.1 percent to NIU’s 44.4 percent. The Zips had a hot second half, hitting 50 percent from the field. However, the Huskies won the rebounding battle 34-27.
ABOUT THE ZIPS
Akron enters Saturday’s contest tied for second place in the MAC East with a 7-2 conference record, and 13-9 overall mark. The Zips have won their last four and seven of their last eight games. The streak includes a 4-0 mark against teams from the MAC West.
Coming off a 62-55 victory at homes against Central Michigan, Akron has compiled an 8-1 home record, and are 4-0 at Rhodes Arena in MAC play. Its only home loss came in a 55-43 decision to 16-6 Temple.
Junior forward Kara Murphy leads the Zips in scoring at 14.8 points per game, The inside-out threat has also hit 27 three-pointers at a 30.3 percent clip. Freshman forward Rachel Tecca and sophomore center Kyle Baumgartner also average in double-figures, scoring 10.9 and 10.2 points per game, respectively. Jolene Tamboue leads the Zips in rebounding at 7.7 per game.
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 20.8 points per game rank second league, while her 5.0 assists per game are second best. She also ranks 16th in rebounding with a 6.0 rpg average.
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 949 points in her career at NIU. That total includes 780 points on 260 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 7.6 boards per game. At just 5-5, Freeman ranks tied for 16th with 6.0 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.
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.
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 63 assists in the last 12 match-ups (5.25 per game). That total includes a career-best nine-assist night against Toledo. Her rebounding is also up, from 3.7 to 6.0 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 in the top-20 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.