Feb. 21, 2014
Game 24 - vs Central Michigan (DeKalb, Ill.)
Saturday, February 22 (7 p.m.)
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Radio: WLBK 98.9 FM, 1360 AM; NIUTube (6:45 p.m. pregame)
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia & Ethel Gregory
NIU HOSTS TWO-STRAIGHT, STARTING WITH CENTRAL MICHIGAN
After a two-game road trip, Northern Illinois returns to its friendly confines at the NIU Convocation Center as it hosts Central Michigan on Saturday, February 22 at 7 p.m. The game serve as the Huskies Alumnae Day.
ALUMNAE DAY FESTIVITIES
As stated before, NIU will host its annual Alumnae Day on Saturday, February 22 for NIU’s game versus Central Michigan. A pre-game event for all registered alums in attendance, starting at 6 p.m., will be held in the Nelson Suite at the Convocation Center, where appetizers and beverages will be available. At halftime, all alumnae will be honored in an on-court halftime presentation. To register, contact Amy Schmidt at (815) 753-1923 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
REMINDER: TIME CHANGE VERSUS TOLEDO NEXT THURSDAY
Thursday’s game versus Toledo will be played at 11:30 a.m. Central time from its originally scheduled 7 p.m. start time for Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day. All faculty and staff of Northern Illinois University will receive two tickets to the game versus the Rockets. All faculty and staff must bring the corresponding email to reserve their tickets.
REMATCH - HUSKIES AND THE CHIPPEWAS
This will be the Huskies second meeting with Central Michigan this season after NIU nearly upset CMU in the early goings of the Mid-American Conference season, 65-60, on January 15 in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. Northern Illinois came out as the games aggressor, attacking the Chippewas on the offensive and defensive floor, leading CMU at halftime, 32-29. Both Natecia Augusta and Danny Pulliam scored in double figures in the opening period with 12 and 10, respectively. Central Michigan’s Crystal Bradford recorded a first half double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the stanza.
In the second half, NIU continued to play its game and limited the Chips offensive chances with its smothering defensive play. The Huskies also played respectable offense as well, shooting 5-of-9 from behind the arc in the second period, however, Bradford carried the Chips to victory with her 27 point effort on 10-of-23 shooting, 65-60. Augusta finished with a double-double in the effort, scoring 17 and grabbing 10 boards while Pulliam recorded a career-high 18 points as she was 4-of-6 from behind the three point line. Amanda Corral added six points in the second half to close the game with 10. CMU’s Jessica Green registered 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and was supplemented by Jas’Mine Bracey’s 10 point, 14 rebounds.
KEEPING TRACK - NIU IN RETURN GAMES
The Huskies are playing their third return game of the Mid-American Conference season Saturday versus Central Michigan, after playing its first return games at Buffalo and Akron. After going 4-7 in its first round of games, NIU is 0-2 in return games thus far. As junior Natecia Augusta put it in an interview before the last game versus Central Michigan, “one our goals this season is to at least one game versus each of our conference opponents, or if not, win both.” While NIU will have to wait until the MAC Tournament to accomplish that feat versus Akron and Buffalo, NIU will have the chance to finish strong with a potential to finish 5-2 in return games versus CMU, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Ball State.
LAST TIME OUT
Defense was the not the name of the game at Akron as the Huskies faced the Zips at James A. Rhodes Arena and combined for 164 points in the affair. UA came out firing and were led by senior Rachel Tecca who seemed to not miss any shots or any free throws taken in the half as she poured in 18 points in the period and was accompanied by Hanna Luburgh’s 11. NIU trailed Akron at the half, 48-30, but it wasn’t for lack of execution as NIU only committed five turnovers in the period and shot 13-of-27 (.481) from the field. The Zips were 18-for-34 (.529) from the field in the first half.
In the second period, the pace of the game continued to be that of a track meet as the Zips continued to build their lead, as the Huskies were unable to get things started sooner. However, NIU finished the half shooting 17-of-29 (.586) in the half and scored its second-highest output of the season at 75 points and fell to the Zips, 89-75.
Freshman Ally Lehman was the second hero for the Huskies as she was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field to score 14 points in the half and in the game, a new career-high. Junior Amanda Corral led all NIU scorers with 21 points and was joined by three other Huskies in double figures as Lehman (14), Alexis Lindstrom (11) and Danny Pulliam (10) all reached the plateau. Akron’s Tecca finished with 36 points in the game, the most allowed by a single player by Northern Illinois this season. She was 12-of-20 from the field and 12-of-16 at the free throw line.
SCOUTING THE CHIPPEWAS
Central Michigan will enter the contest with a 16-9 overall record and a 12-1 Mid-American Conference having just lost its first MAC game last Wednesday at Bowling Green, 67-55. After a tough gauntlet in non-conference games, including No. 2 Duke, No. 7 Kentucky, Kansas and Xavier, the Chippewas came out strong in the MAC as they won 12-straight games to open the conference. After defeating NIU on January 15, the Chips followed up with an 82-79 overtime victory over conference preseason favorite Bowling Green on the 18th. However, the Falcons returned the favor on as they hosted CMU and defeated the Chippewas, 67-55.
Crystal Bradford has continued her role as the all-everything for Central Michigan as she owns staggering averages of 19.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Bradford’s supporting cast of Nik DiGuilio and Jessica Green have been hot lately for the Chips and are currently averaging 13.8 and 11.5 points per game, respectively. Jas’Mine Bracey is also averaging 11.5 points per game. As a team, Central Michigan shares the conference lead in scoring with Akron at 83.0 points per game.
THIS COULD BE IT
It has been a countdown item for a couple weeks now in the NIU notes as junior Amanda Corral has narrowed in on 1,000 points for her career. On Wednesday night at Akron, Corral scored 21 points -- marking the fifth time this season she scored at least 20 points in a game -- and put her within four points of reaching 1,000. Corral will become the 26th member of the 1,000-point club at Northern Illinois University and the first since Marke Freeman (2008-11) on January 8, 2011 versus Central Michigan to reach the career milestone.
SHE’S HEATING UP...
Sophomore Alexis Lindstrom has been hot 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 14-of-31 shots attempted. Heading into this run of good form, Lindstrom only made 3-of-12 shots attempted in the previous five games.
LEHMAN GETS AGGRESSIVE
Last Wednesday at Akron, freshman Ally Lehman played an uninspired first half, going 0-for-1 from the field in six minutes of play and posted zeros across the box score. However, Lehman arguably played her best half of the season in the second period against the Zips as she was perfect from the field, 7-for-7, for a career-high 14 points with six rebounds and three assists in 14 second half minutes. Lehman did not commit any turnovers in the period either as she was the Huskies second-leading scorer in the game. The Nineveh, Ind., native surpassed her previous career-high of 11 points with her effort on the night.
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 is the team’s leader in assists at 38 helpers through 13 games, an average of 2.9 per game. Team assist leader, Danny Pulliam, who has accounted for 69 assists in 23 games, has recorded 37 helpers in 13 MAC games. In the last six games, the Nineveh, Ind., native has accounted for 20 helpers -- an average of 3.3 per game. At Buffalo on February 15, 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, as well as the most assists amongst MAC freshman. Her 54 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 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 13 blocks in 13 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 19, an average of 0.8 per game, and is tied for eighth in the MAC in blocked shots per game. In the last 13 games, she has racked up 13 blocks for an average of 1.0 per game. Augusta is tied for sixth in the Mid-American Conference in both conference games and for the season.
WHEN SCORING 70-POINTS OR MORE...
The Huskies have scored 70-or-more points seven times this season and when Northern Illinois has surpassed that total, NIU owns a 4-3 record on the season. The Huskies losses this season have come at the hands of New Mexico State (77-73), Toledo (73-71) and now Akron (89-75).
THEIR BEST SHOOTING IN AWHILE
In the second half at Akron, Northern Illinois had its best shooting half in a game, .586, since the Mid-American Conference opener versus Ohio on January 4 when NIU was .591 in the second half. The Huskies were 17-of-28 from the field in the second stanza, the most field goals made since NIU made 18 in the second half at Toledo on January 9.
The Huskies host a Thursday morning contest versus on February 27 as NIU takes on Toledo at 11:30 a.m. Central time. NIU will honor the university’s faculty and staff at the game, offering two free tickets to members of Northern Illinois’ faculty and staff.