Feb. 8, 2014
Game 21 - vs Ball State (DeKalb, Ill.)
Sunday, February 9 (1 p.m.)
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Radio: WLBK 98.9 FM, 1360 AM; NIUtube (12:45 p.m. pregame)
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia & Ethel Gregory
NIU HOSTS BALL STATE IN PINK DOUBLEHEADER
Northern Illinois will hold its annual Pink Game Sunday February 9 when its hosts Ball State at the NIU Convocation Center. The Huskies will be game one of an NIU Basketball doubleheader, tipping off at 1 p.m. Men’s basketball will tipoff at 3 p.m. against Western Michigan.
The Huskies are hosting its annual “Pink Game” at the Convocation Center Sunday afternoon against Ball State. Fans wearing pink to the game will receive $3 admission to the game. Northern Illinois will also wear its special pink uniforms for the game on Sunday.
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 PINK LADIES
The Huskies have hosted four pink games since 2009 and are 1-3 all-time in the game. NIU will don its white uniforms with pink and black trim on Sunday and last won in the uniforms in 2010 when the Huskies defeated Toledo, 73-67. Northern Illinois hosted Bowling Green last sea- son in the Pink Game and fell to the Falcons, 60-49.
THE HUSKIES AND THE CARDINALS
NIU and Ball State own a long tradition as foes, having first met on the hardwood March 14, 1971 - a 57-45 victory for the Huskies. While Northern Illinois won the first battle, the series has been evenly stretched over the years, aside from a nine-game streak of victories for BSU in the early 2000’s. The Cardinals own a 27-17 all-time record in the series and has taken six of the last 10 games, including two-straight. In the last five games at the NIU Convocation Center, Northern Illinois leads Ball State, 3-2, and has won two of the last three. In last year’s meeting on January 13, 2013 in DeKalb, the Huskies fell to the Cardinals, 57-51.
LAST TIME OUT
The Huskies hosted Akron in their first game of a two date home stand. Northern Illinois pressed the Zips defensively, keeping them off balance, and held them to 20 points in the half, a season-low for Akron. NIU scored 31 points, led by a 10 point, nine rebound effort by junior forward Jenna Thorp. The Huskies also shot .458 from field, exactly .200 better than the Zips in the half, going 14-of-30 from the field.
Northern Illinois continued to build its lead in the second half as it went up by as much as 13 points in the period five minutes into the frame. Akron, who entered the game as the No. 14 scoring offense in the country, flexed its offensive muscle in the second period as it scored 51 points in the half. The Zips took the lead with 8:24 remaining in the game but the Huskies rallied back to take the lead and led with under a minute left.
However, a rare five-point play occurred as Amanda Corral picked up her fifth personal foul on a continuation foul as Hanna Luburgh sunk a three point basket to tie the game, 67-67, with 18 seconds left. Carly Young sunk two free throws to put the Zips back on top and Akron defeated NIU, 71-67. Four Huskies scored in double figures in the game. Thorp led NIU scorers with 13 points and 11 rebounds for her second double- double of the season. Akron’s Rachel Tecca led all scorers with 23 points.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
Ball State is 9-12 this season with a 4-6 record in the Mid-American Conference and a 1-4 clip in its last five conference games. The Cardinals are coming off of losses at Kent State on February 2, 60-57, and a February 6 heartbreaker in overtime versus Central Michigan, 84-81. BSU last claimed victory against Western Michigan at home January 29, 56-43, and last triumphed on the road at Ohio, 79-63, on January 18.
The Cardinals are the No. 7 scoring offense in the MAC during conference play, averaging 66.7 points per game, but are No. 3 in defense as they have only surrendered 65.2 points per outing against MAC foes. Ball State is one of the top-three point shooting teams in the conference, ranking third in average at .337, converting 69-of-205 shots taken. Post player Nathalie Fontaine is the Cardinals leading scorer as she’s scoring at a rate of 17.0 points per game, while averaging 6.9 rebounds. Brittany Carter is also scoring in double-figures at 11.9 points per game but Jill Morrison is the team’s top shooter from behind the arc, hitting .413 of her shots and averaging 9.4 points per game. Brandy Woody is the team’s top distributor and is dishing out 3.4 assists per game while adding 9.4 points.
A FIVE POINT FRENZY
The Huskies fell last time out on the rare five point play to MAC offensive juggernaut Akron with 18 seconds remaining in the game. NIU built a three point lead after Natecia Augusta drained two free throws with 24 seconds remaining and carried it until Hanna Luburgh threw up a trey to attempt, after a whistle blew for an off the ball foul. The shot was counted and the Zips went to the line, sinking both shots to overtake the lead from NIU.
HOLDING THEM DOWN
The Northern Illinois defense was stalwart against Akron last time out, holding the Zips to a shooting average of .377. Entering the game, UA was shooting over .450 from the field and averaging over 83 points per outing through nine MAC games. NIU only allowed the Zips to shoot .258 in the first half and score 20 points, Akron’s lowest output of the season.
FOUR TIMES THE FUN
The Huskies had four different players reach double-figures against Akron last Wednesday night, with Jenna Thorp reaching the plateau in the first half with a 10-point effort. Thorp led all scorers with 13 points, but was followed closely by Amanda Corral and Jazmine Harris, who each contributed 12 points. Danny Pulliam rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points. Each player made five field goals in the game. NIU almost had a fifth in Natecia Augusta, who finished with nine points on the night.
Last time out versus Akron, freshman Jazmine Harris scored 12 points, reaching double-digits for the fourth time this season. Harris also tied her season-high with six rebounds but set a new season-best with four on the offensive glass. Her body control under the basket has turned heads of opponents, coaches and fans alike this season as she is able to slither her way to the basket and explode through defenses to put shots off the glass and into the basket. She’s twice scored 15 points this season, doing so in back-to-back games against Northern Iowa and Ohio on Dec. 21 and Jan. 4. Harris is shooting .473 from the field this season.
INCHING CLOSER TO 1,000
Junior Amanda Corral is under 50 points away from 1,000 in her career, and becoming the 26th player in program history to reach the landmark point. Heading into the Ball State game, Corral is 44 points shy of 1,000 and becoming the first player since Marke Freeman (2008-11) to join the Huskie sorority on January 8, 2011 versus Central Michigan. Corral is averaging 13.8 points per game this season.
POUNDING THE PAINT
The Huskies have had their tendencies this season and scoring down in the paint has been a strength of the team. Through 20 games this year, NIU has averaged almost 25 points in the paint per game. 16 times this season Northern Illinois has accumulated 20-or-more points and has scored 30-or-more three times. The Huskies best performance of the year occurred December 21 versus Northern Iowa, scoring 42 points.
SCORING AND BOARDING WITH Jenna Thorp
Junior Jenna Thorp was the Huskies leading scorer versus Akron last Wednesday, scoring 13 points in 26 minutes of action. She also accounted for 11 rebounds to record for her second double-double of the season. Thorp nearly got the double-double in the first half of the game as she had 10 points and nine boards heading into the locker room. The Hinckley, Ill. native recorded her first career double- double versus Buffalo on January 23, accounting for 12 points and 11 rebounds.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGES
The Huskies own several advantages at home this season and it shows with their 5-4 record at the Con- vocation Center. The bullets below illustrate the Huskies advantages in several statistical categories. NOTE: all statistics reflect percentages and per game figures.
FRESHMAN PLAYING BIG
Freshmen Jazmine Harris and Ally Lehman have been big contributors for the Huskies all season long. While they have taken their licks and suffered growing pains at times, they have combined for 12.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Lehman has secured a double-double this season and Harris has scored 10-or-more points four times. Lehman and Harris are fourth and fifth on the team in scoring, respectively, and Lehman is second on the team in assists with 2.2 per game.
AUGUSTA GOING FOR AVERAGE
Junior Natecia Augusta has easily been one of the Huskies most improved players from last season. After averaging 6.2 points and a field goal percentage of .528, she has improved her scoring average to 10.4 points per game with a field goal percentage of .521, the fifth-best this season in the Mid-American Conference. She has already taken 19 more shots this season with nine games remaining than in 2012-13. Augusta has also recorded four double-doubles this season and last had one at Central Michigan with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
STAT OF NOTE
This season, the Huskies have held three opponents scoreless from behind the three-point line. NIU has held two MAC opponents, Ohio and Kent State, without a three-point field goal and had its best performance at Illinois State on December 5, holding the Redbirds 0-for-11. Northern Illinois is second in the Mid-American Conference in three-point field goal defense in 2013-14, only allowing its foes to shoot .282 through 20 games. Bowling Green leads the conference with a clip of .268.
Junior Jenna Thorp has been a terror for the Huskies opposition as a rebounder since the start of MAC play, grabbing 7.1 boards per game in that span. The 10 game mark is the best average of her NIU career and is highlighted by three double-digit efforts versus Eastern Michigan (13), Akron (11) and Buffalo (11), setting a new career-high against the Eagles. Thorp is also averaging 8.3 points per game in the last seven games.
ONLY ONE ASSIST AWAY
Through 20 games this season junior Danny Pulliam has 61 assists. As a freshman in 2010-11, Pulliam accounted for a career-high 61 assists that season in 30 appearances. With one more assist, she will set a new career-high and give her 147 helpers in her career.
KEY TO SUCCESS: REBOUNDING
When comparing Northern Illinois and its opponents, the key to the Huskies success has been rebounding. NIU has outrebounded its opponents 10 times this season and is 8-2 when accomplishing the feat. The rebounds have negated second chance opportunities for the Huskies opponents as they’re outscoring their opponents, 128-90 (+38), when outrebounding their foes.
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. 25 in the country and No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference in turnovers per game at 13.2 per game. The Huskies are averaging just over 59 field goal attempts per game and by adding 13, the number the turnovers, NIU is averaging 72 possessions a game. Putting that into context, Northern Illinois is only committing a turnover every 5.6 possessions.
Northern Illinois hits the road for two straight games with a first stop at Buffalo on Saturday, February 15 for an 11 a.m. Central showdown with the Bulls.