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Feb. 10, 2009
DEKALB, Ill. -The Northern Illinois University women's basketball team looks to bounce back from a tough loss over the weekend when the Huskies welcome Miami University to the Convocation Center Wednesday night.
Tip off for the Huskies and RedHawks is 7 p.m. Fans can follow all the action live on 1360 WLBK with Bill Baker on the call and on the Internet via Gametracker at www.niuhuskies.com.
NIU (11-11, 6-3) suffered a 67-50 setback to Kent State Saturday at the M.A.C. Center. Two Huskies finished in double figures with Kylie York (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) leading the way with 13 points, while Marke Freeman (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) added 12. The Huskies lost the rebounding battle, 51-36, for the first time since Jan. 14, 2009. It's an area, along with defense, NIU head coach Carol Owens believes rebounding will be key to victory Wednesday.
"We've got to concentrate on our defense," Owens said. "Teams are going to score and teams won't shoot well, but the thing that you can control is your defensive rebounding. We've got to get back to that. We paid a little bit more attention to that in practice."
Northern Illinois has responded very well after a loss this season, posting a 7-3 record in games following a loss. Their resiliency has helped the Huskies avoid any prolonged slumps. The longest losing streak NIU has endured this season was three games that occurred during the non-conference portion of the schedule.
"It's our jobs as coaches to get our players to bounce back," Owens said. "We watch film a lot, both individually and as a team. It's a mentality. We've had a good mentality with that [winning after a loss] this year. We have a lot of emotional leaders and a lot of competitors. That helps."
Miami (Ohio) (13-9, 5-4) comes to town winners of two straight, defeating Central Michigan, 83-78, Saturday in Oxford. The Redhawks average 69 points a game, fifth best in the Mid-American Conference, while NIU is sixth in the league in scoring, averaging 67.7 points a game.
The RedHawks hold a 13-11 edge in the all-time series between the two schools. However, Northern Illinois has won the last four meetings dating back to Feb. 4, 2006. The last RedHawk victory came Feb. 12, 2005 when Miami escaped the Convocation Center with a 71-68 victory.
NIU erased a 15-point halftime deficit to post its first road victory of the 2007-08 season, defeating Miami, 77-74, in Millett Hall Jan. 26, 2008. York led the way for the Huskies with a game-high 27 points, scoring 22 in the second half. She was 8-of-12 from the field, including 7-of-11 from three-point territory. York also was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Becky Smith (Janesville, Wis./Parker) also finished in double figures, adding 10.
Wednesday's game against Miami (Ohio) will be the last NIU home game before Feb. 24 when the Huskies welcome Toledo to the Convocation Center. That will be Northern Illinois' Pink Zone game. The WBCA Pink Zone initiative is a global, unified effort for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. Pink t-shirts will be distributed to early arriving fans and the first 250 fans will receive pink stress balls from game sponsor Los Rancheros.