Feb. 18, 2014
Game 23 - vs Akron (Akron, Ohio)
Wednesday, February 19 (6 p.m.)
Live Stats: GoZips.com
Radio: WLBK 98.9 FM, 1360 AM; NIUTube (5:45 p.m. pregame)
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia
NIU CLOSES TWO-GAME ROAD TRIP AT AKRON
Northern Illinois closes out its two-game road trip Wednesday, February 19 when it takes on Akron at James A. Rhodes Arena. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m., Central.
NIU TO HOST ALUMNAE DAY FEBRUARY 22
The Huskies will host its annual Alumnae Day on Saturday, February 22 for NIU’s game versus Central Michigan. For $25, alums will have the opportunity to go to the team’s shootaround, eat with the team during its pregame meal, hear a chalk talk from Head Coach Kathi Bennett and go to a pregame mixer at Fatty’s Pub & Grille with a drink and transportation provided. Alums in attendance will also be recognized on the court at halftime of the game. For more details about the event, visit NIUHuskies.com.
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.
REMATCH - THE HUSKIES AND THE ZIPS
It was only three games ago that Northern Illinois took on Akron at the NIU Convocation Center and only 14 days will separate the two contests proximity. In the last meeting, the Huskies held the Zips potent offense to only 20 points in the first, their lowest output of the season, and carried an 11 point lead at halftime, 31-20. Both teams ran up and down the floor in the second half as they combined for 87 points. With 28 seconds remaining, Natecia Augusta hit two free throws to put NIU up by three points, 67-64, but a Huskie foul off the ball 10 seconds later while Akron was in the process of shooting a successful three-point field goal resulted in a five-point play and put UA on top of NIU, 69-67. The Zips would go on to claim the win, 71-67.
In the last meeting, NIU had four players reach double-figures in scoring with Jenna Thorp pacing the Huskies at 13 points. She also had 11 rebounds for her second career double-double. Jazmine Harris scored 12 points off the bench while Danny Pulliam and Amanda Corral added 11 and 12 points, respectively. UA’s Rachel Tecca led the Zips with 23 points, while Hanna Luburgh and Carly Young added 17 points and 19 points, respectively.
All-time in the series, the Huskies own an 18-9 advantage dating back to 1989 when the two teams first met. In the last four meetings, Northern Illinois is 2-2 against the Zips and last defeated Akron at James A. Rhodes Arena on January 25, 2012, 72-66, the last game Northern Illinois played at Akron.
LAST TIME OUT
Northern Illinois began a two-game road trip at Buffalo Saturday afternoon, looking to avenge its loss to the Bulls on January 23 (63-52). Both the Huskies and UB went back and forth, trading runs in the contest until NIU closed the first half on an 18-5 run to put the Huskies on top of the Bulls at halftime, 34-29. Buffalo closed the stanza 0-for-10 from the field after starting it 12-for-22. NIU continued its torrent pace in the start of the second half as it went on a 14-6 run and increased its lead to 13 points on a three-point basket by Alexis Lindstrom, 48-35, with 11:44 remaining. The Bulls charged back as they overtook the NIU lead with 7:28 on the clock, but the Huskies fought to prevent UB from overextending its lead. Northern Illinois remained within four points with two minutes left but were unable to overtake Buffalo and fell, 66-57.
The Huskies had three players reach double-figures in scoring with Natecia Augusta pacing NIU in the contest with 12. Lindstrom, who hit three shots from behind the arc, finished with 11 points off the bench while Amanda Corral finished with 10 points. Augusta also had seven rebounds and two blocks in the game. Freshman Ally Lehman accounted for a career-high six assists in the contest.
SCOUTING THE ZIPS
Akron is 15-8 through 23 games this season with a 9-3 clip in the Mid-American Conference. In their last 10 games, the Zips are 8-2 and are riding an eight-game winning streak -- the longest in the program's 40-year history -- last falling at Miami January 15, 79-76. Twice during this eight-game winning streak, the Zips have scored over 100 points in a game as they accounted for 101 at Eastern Michigan on January 26 and again versus Buffalo Feb. 2. After narrowly escaping DeKalb on February 5, Akron is averaging only 79 points per game as compared to its clip of 83.4 entering the contest.
Rachel Tecca and Hanna Luburgh are still the nation’s top-scoring duo as they rank No. 9 and No. 11, respectively, at average point totals of 23.3 and 22.9 per game. As a team, Akron is 13th in Division I in scoring at a rate of 82.8 points per game, the second-best average in the Mid-American Conference. UA is No. 8 in the NCAA in helpers per game with an average of 18.7 per outing.
THAT TYPE OF GAME
Collapsing defensive play, half-court pressure and filling passing lanes was the name of the game Saturday afternoon at Alumni Arena between Northern Illinois and Buffalo. Each teams pressured the chief ball-handlers with extreme precision as the game’s top-distributors, NIU’s Ally Lehman and UB’s Margeaux Gupilan, each scored zero points in the contest but combined for 13 assists. Lehman dished a career-high six assists while Gupilan recorded seven helpers in the game. Each team had 16 turnovers.
SHE’S HEATING UP...
Sophomore Alexis Lindstrom has been heating up behind the three-point line over the last four games for the Huskies. Versus Western Michigan, Akron, Ball State and Buffalo, Lindstrom has shot .423 behind the arc, draining 11-of-26 shots attempted. Heading into this run of good form, Lindstrom only made 3-of-12 shots (.250) attempted in the previous five games.
THE ROAD WARRIOR
When comparing NIU players scoring rates at home versus on the road, there are subtle differences on the squad -- all except for junior Danny Pulliam. For those that know Pulliam, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as her toughness drives her competitive fire and makes her the point guard that she is. The Huskies have played 10 games at home and 11 games on the road this season and Pulliam is the only player on the Northern Illinois roster to score more points on the road than she does at the NIU Convocation Center. The Indianapolis, Ind., native averages 10.8 points on the road, compared to 8.8 at home.
THE FRESHMAN’S ASSIST FRENZY
Freshman Ally Lehman has been on a terror as the Huskies second point guard since the start of Mid-American Conference play as she shares the team lead in assists with junior Danny Pulliam at 35 helpers through 12 games, an average of 2.9 per game. In the last five games, the Nineveh, Ind., native has accounted for 17 helpers -- an average of 3.4 per game. Last time out at Buffalo, Lehman distributed a career-high six assists, while only turning the ball over three times to lead NIU in assists against the Bulls. She owns the top assist to turnover ratio in conference games among MAC freshman at a clip of 1.4, as well as the most assists amongst MAC freshman at 3.1. Her 51 assists this season is the most by a Northern Illinois freshman since Stephanie Raymond in 2003-04. Raymond (2003-07) would go on to become the 20th overall pick by the Chicago Sky in the 2007 WNBA Draft, playing one season professionally with the Sky. Raymond finished her freshman year with 78 helpers in 27 games, an average of 2.9 assists per game. Lehman is currently on pace to finish the season with 67.2 assists.
NATECIA’S BLOCK PARTY
Junior forward Natecia Augusta has placed herself amongst the top-10 in the Mid-American Conference in blocked shots this season as she has accumulated 12 blocks in MAC contests. Three-times, she has blocked three shots in a game, last doing so against Ball State on February 9. For the season, the Peoria, Ill. native has 18, an average of 0.8 per game. In the last 12 games, she has racked up 12 blocks for an average of 1.0 per game. Augusta is tied for sixth in the Mid-American Conference in blocked shots in both conference games and for the season.
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 12 times this season and is 8-4 when accomplishing the feat. The rebounds have negated second chance opportunities for the Huskies opponents as they’re outscoring their opponents, 153-104 (+49), when outrebounding their foes. NIU has outrebounded its foes in four of the last five games, including the last three games.
IN THE LAST FIVE GAMES...
In the last five games, redshirt junior Danny Pulliam has made at least one three point field goal for the Huskies. She is 7-for-15 (.467) from behind the arc in that time as well.
The Northern Illinois bench has been playing large for the Huskies over the last three games, combining for 61 points in that span, a +16 margin over their opponents 45 and an average of 20.3 points per game. Sophomore Alexis Lindstrom has led the NIU bench players in the last two games with 11 points at Buffalo and nine versus Ball State while freshman Jazmine Harris led the Huskies with 12 points against Akron.
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 25 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 13.6 points per game this season.
THORP ON THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
Jenna Thorp’s grit and determination to cleanup the glass for NIU in Mid-American Conference games has been well documented and opposing teams can attest to that fact as well. Over the last nine games, she has pulled down an average of 3.0 offensive rebounds a game, highlighted by a back-to-back five rebound performances at Miami and versus Buffalo. With 39 offensive rebounds already with at least seven games remaining, .378 percent of her rebounding total this season, Thorp has already exceeded her performance from last season and is only six offensive rebounds shy of setting a new season-high in offensive boards.
FRESHMEN 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 11.8 points and 8.3 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 .506, the fourth-best this season in the Mid-American Conference. Augusta has also recorded four double-doubles this season and last had one at Central Michigan with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Huskies will start a two game home stand, starting with Central Michigan Saturday, February 22 at 7 p.m. Central. NIU will host its annual Alumnae Day. Visit NIUHuskies.com for details about the event.