Feb. 9, 2012
Northern Illinois Huskies (10-12, 4-6 MAC) at Miami RedHawks (17-6, 7-3 MAC)
NIU-Miami Game Notes
Date: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Tipoff: 12:00 PM CT
Location: Oxford, Ohio | Millett Hall
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM DeKalb - Andy Garcia on the call
Live Stats: MURedHawks.com
Northern Illinois plays its 12th road game of the year with its 29th all-time meeting against Miami.
A Look at Miami
Miami enters the game having gone 3-3 since a 10-game winning streak. The RedHawks average 70.0 points per game and give up 63.1. They are shooting 41.7 percent from the field and allow opponents to shoot 37.6 percent. Miami features three players with double figure scoring averages in Courtney Osborn (18.7, third in MAC, 31st in NCAA), Maggie Boyer (11.4), and Kirsten Olowinski (11.3).
Last Time Versus Miami
The two teams last met in DeKalb last year on January 23, and the Huskies came out on top 71-64. The Huskies survived a late push by Miami as NIU hit four free throws in the last 90 seconds to seal the win. Marke Freeman paced the Huskies with 28 points. Maggie Boyer led Miami 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.
Revenge is Served
Last season, NIU took down Ohio in Athens during the regular season but fell at home 72-66 to the Bobcats in the first round of the MAC Tournament, ending Kathi Bennett's first season. In their first meeting since, the Huskies avenged the loss with a 50-46 win last Saturday in DeKalb.
In the Ohio win, the Huskies held the Bobcats to a lowly 30.9 shooting percentage and pulled down 30 defensive boards as a result. Ohio only grabbed 29 total rebounds all game against the Huskies, who also had 11 offensive boards for a total of 41. NIU improved to 10-6 when outrebounding its foe.
Last season it took NIU until Feb. 12 to get its 10th overall and fourth MAC win. The Ohio win on Feb. 4 marked NIU's 10th overall and fourth MAC win of the season. NIU has six games left to match or better its 13 overall and seven MAC wins from 2010-11.
Posting a Victory
The low post combo of Kim Davis and Claire Jakubicek teamed up for 32 of NIU's 50 points in the Ohio win. Davis tied a season high and was 7-for-11 from the field. Jakubicek notched her eighth straight double digit output. As a team, NIU outscored Ohio 36-22 in the paint.
Courtney Shelton only took three shots against Ohio and scored no points for just the second time in the last two seasons -- a span of 51 games -- but she still found a way to have a large impact on the game. Try a career-best 11 rebounds and season-high eight assists for nearly a pointless double-double.
Finding the Right Mix
Of the nine different starting lineups that NIU has used this season, the most recent group has proved to be a cut above. Over the last four games, NIU has started Courtney Shelton, Amanda Corral, Kim Davis, Alicia Johnson, and Claire Jakubicek and the Huskies have gone 3-1. Only two other lineups have been used more than twice this season and have produced a 2-2 and 1-3 record.
Corral is in the Zone
Over the last four games, Amanda Corral has found a nice scoring groove. She's scored in double figures three times for an average of 13.0 points per game. She has also been very accurate, going 16-for-31 (51.6%) from the field, including 6-for-9 (66.6%) from three-point land. On the season, she is averaging 9.5 points per game and shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from behind the arc.
Since being inserted into the starting lineup the last four games, Alicia Johnson has proved to be efficient in her role. She has hit five of six shots from the field and has averaged 3.25 rebounds and 1.25 assists in just 22 minutes of action per game.
New Place, Same Result
Prior to NIU's 57-47 loss at Bowling Green on Feb. 1, 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.
Return of the MAC
Since starting 0-4 in league play, NIU has rebounded to go 4-2.
For just the second time all year, the Huskies led a game from start to finish as they beat Kent State 66-55 on Jan. 28 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 the 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.
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%).
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 six of the last eight games, scoring 12 at Ball State, 15 versus Toledo, 14 against Buffalo, 18 at Akron, 17 at Bowling Green, and 16 against Ohio. 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 eight games, her points per game average is at 14.3.
Home Court Advantage
The Huskies are 6-5 at home this year and are holding opponents to just 56.9 points per game, as opposed to the 60.7 points per game NIU allows on the road. NIU has also held opponents to a 36.5 field goal percentage at home, compared to a 38.3 percentage on the road.
As of Feb. 4, NIU ranks third in the MAC in opponent field goal percentage (37.4) and second in opponent three-point percentage (27.7). The Huskies are 9-7 when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting and are 6-3 when outshooting their foes. The Huskies also rank fourth in the MAC in scoring defense (58.8 PPG).
With rebounding margin of +4.2, NIU ranks third in the MAC and 64th in the NCAA as of Feb. 4. NIU's 73.7 percent defensive rebounding clip is tops in the league. The Huskies have outrebounded their opponents 16 times this year and are 10-6 when doing so.
The Right Touch
As of Feb. 4, freshman Claire Jakubicek leads the MAC in free throw percentage (95.7) and ranks 11th in the MAC in field goal percentage (45.1). 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 369-270 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 53-49 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 return home for a mini, two-game home stand against Ball State and Eastern Michigan. NIU will face BSU on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7 PM CT before taking on EMU on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 3 PM.