FINAL SCORE: OHIO 71, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 64
Huge free throw imbalance dooms Huskie Women's
Basketball to 71-64 loss at hands of Ohio
ATHENS, OH--- Ohio University hit 22-of 25 free throws in the second
half alone while allowing Northern Illinois University to get to
the line just eight times for the entire game, helping the Bobcats
hand the Huskies a 71-64 loss in Mid-American Conference women's
basketball action Saturday (Feb. 19).
With the loss, NIU sees its season-high losing streak hit eight
games while falling to 6-18 on the season with a 3-10 mark in MAC
play. Ohio gets back above .500 in the league at 7-6 to go along
with an 11-13 overall record.
Stephanie Raymond (Rockford, IL / Lutheran) scored 15 of her
team-high 20 points in the second half, including eight of NIU's
first 10 markers after halftime, but it wasn't enough to overcome
the OU free throw parade. The Bobcats went nearly six full minutes
without a field goal after a Simone Redd jumper gave the hosts a
51-46 lead with 8:37 remaining. NIU could get no closer than one,
however, as Ohio hit 11 free throws over the next 5:52 while holding
the Huskies to 10 points to actually extend its lead to 62-56.
OU forward Ciara Iglehart hit a lay-up at the 2:49 mark to break
the dry spell and push the Bobcat lead to its highest point of the
afternoon at 64-56. Fittingly, Redd---who led all scorers with 26
points---hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Raymond tried to match the Bobcat freshman at both ends of the floor,
adding six rebounds and six steals to her 20 points to top the team
in all three categories. Backcourt mate Mary Basic (Lemont,
IL / Chicago Heights Marian Catholic) added a career-high 15 points
on 7-of-13 shooting while Jamie Wilson (Reynoldsburg, OH
/ Reynoldsburg) chipped in with 11 points to round out the trio
of Huskies in double-figures.
"Stephanie was just amazing tonight," NIU head coach Carol
Hammerle said. "She played so hard on both ends and made
some huge plays for us. Mary played an excellent game too. She shot
the ball extremely well, and, just like Stephanie, made some great
plays on both ends of the floor."
As a team, the Huskies shot a crisp .500 (26-of-52) from the floor
including a 6-of-15 effort from three-point land. On the defensive
end, NIU held Ohio to .422 (19-of-45) shooting, but watched as the
Bobcats hit 27-of-30 free throws (.900). OU also held a distinct
advantage on the boards where they out-rebounded the Huskies 32-23.
"That is a huge free throw disparity," Hammerle commented.
"We shot 50 percent from the floor, had more steals, less turnovers.
How else are you supposed to make up 21 points at the free throw
line? It's a little disheartening, because I feel like we really
played well enough to win this game."
Free throws were not an issue in an action-packed first half complete
with four ties and seven lead changes. Ohio used an early 10-0 run
to turn a 6-4 Huskie lead into a 14-6 advantage of its own. NIU
refused to fold, however, slowly chipping away with some help from
the bench. Nikita Odom (Hazel Crest, IL / Country Club Hills
Hillcrest) and Whitney Lowe (Bushnell, IL / Prairie City)
each scored late in the half with Lowe's three-pointer getting the
Huskies the lead back at 20-19 with 4:42 left before the half.
"It's all about performance," Hammerle added. "Nikita
played a great game tonight, and I though Whitney played very well
too. It's good to see some of our younger players stepping up and
That bucket started a string of lead changes on five consecutive
baskets. Back-to-back scores from OU guard Simone Redd gave the
Bobcats the lead at 29-27 with 52 seconds remaining before Wilson
worked for a lay-up on the left block to knot things back up at
29-29. A three-pointer by Ciara Iglehart gave Ohio the lead back
at 32-29, but Basic pulled up off the dribble to drain a 15-footer
from the left wing to send cut the deficit to 32-31 at the break.
Northern Illinois faces an extremely short turnaround, returning
home to face Western Michigan University Tuesday (Feb. 22). Tip-off
at the Convocation Center is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (CST).
--- The 30
Ohio free throws are the most attempted by a Huskie opponent in
a regulation game since Bowling Green made 20-of-32 charity tosses
during a 66-58 NIU loss back on Jan. 10, 2004. The Falcons also
attempted 38 free throws during the Huskies' 102-97 four-overtime
victory on Feb. 18, 2004.
--- NIU's .500
field goal percentage is its second-highest effort of the season.
The Huskies hit at a .634 clip during a 67-54 victory over Saint
Louis back on Dec. 18, 2004.
Wilson scored in double-figures for the fifth straight game,
notching 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Whitney Lowe matched her career-high with five points. All
five of Lowe's tallies came in the first half as the Bushnell, IL,
native scored on back-to-back possessions. Each one of Lowe's baskets
allowed NIU to retake a one-point lead.