DeKALB - The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team (10-15, 4-9 MAC) heads to Muncie, Ind. for a pivotal Mid-American Conference showdown with West Division rival Ball State (11-15, 5-8 MAC), Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. in Worthern Arena.
With a win, Northern Illinois would leapfrog Ball State into the eighth slot in the MAC standings. Seeds 5-8 host teams nine through 12 in the first round of the MAC Tournament. While the teams would have the same record, NIU would hold the tiebreaker by virtue of its win over Ohio.
Ball State leads the all-time series 23-14. The Cardinals hold an 11-4 edge in games played in Muncie. NIU head coach Carol Owens is seeking her first win at Ball State.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS
As the second leading scorer in the MAC, junior forward Emily Maggert leads the Cardinals with 18.3 points per game. Maggert posted a double-double with game-highs of 18 points and 13 rebounds in Ball State’s recent win over Western Michigan. It was her third straight double-double and 17th of the season.
Senior sharpshooter Audrey McDonald stands as Ball State’s only other double-figure scorer with 11.8 points per game. McDonald is fourth in the MAC with 67 three-pointers made.
LAST TIME AGAINST BALL STATE
Junior Marke Freeman scored 33 points, but her career-high scoring output wasn’t enough, as the Huskies fell in a 64-62 nail-biter against Ball State at the Convocation Center.
Trailing by three, Ball State’s Danielle Gratton hit a three-pointer to tie the game with 57 seconds left. NIU turned the ball over on its next possession, and Gratton hit the game-winning lay-up with 3.5 seconds on the clock to give Ball State the win.
Freeman converted six three-pointers in 10 attempts to go with a team-high three assists and five rebounds. She scored 19 of NIU’s 30 first-half points on 8-of-12 shooting. She surpassed her previous career-high of 27 in the second half.
NIU finished the contest going 24-62 from the field, and held a 6-3 advantage on three-pointers over the Cardinals. Mauvolyene Adams recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
Freeman sparked the comeback run after sinking a long trey to pull the Huskies within three. A pair of free throws by freshman Brittney Callahan tied the game at 16 before both teams began trading baskets. Neither squad found an advantage and headed to the locker room tied 30-30.
Ball State came out firing in the second half, hitting four consecutive baskets before missing their next five attempts. Freeman refused to leave the Cardinal defense alone in the second half, sinking four treys to put the Huskies up 46-44.
Following in first-half fashion, both teams continued to trade baskets up until the game’s last minute. Adams came up big for NIU over the last 20 minutes, tallying 14 of her 21 points in the second.
ON THE AIR
Every NIU basketball game of the 2009-10 season can be heard on the Northern Illinois ISP Sports Radio Network. Women’s games can be heard on 1360-AM WLBK and online at www.niuhuskies.com through Huskie All-Access.
Marke Freeman is the only player in the Mid-American Conference to average at least 19 points, five rebounds and four assists per game. Her 19.8 points per game rank second in the league, while her 4.8 assists per game are second best. She also ranks 18th in rebounding with a 5.5 rpg.
ON HER WAY TO 1,000...
Senior Kylie York is en route to becoming the 25th member of the Northern Illinois 1,000-Point Club. York has scored 978 points in her career at NIU. That total includes 798 points on 266 career three-pointers made, the most in Huskie history. To reach the 1,000-point milestone, York would have to average 5.5 points per game over the Huskies’ final four guaranteed games. York is currently averaging 9.2 points per game.
AND, PERHAPS, A MAC RECORD
Kylie York, the lone senior for the Huskies, hit four three-pointers against Loyola to become the top three-point shooter in NIU history. Now, York is eying the Mid-American Conference record for career three-pointers made. York’s 266 rank fourth, two behind Toledo’s Mimi Olson, and just 14 back of league record holder Casey Roster, formerly of Western Michigan.
York holds the second and third-place spots in the Huskie record book for threes in a season. She hit 77 as a sophomore, knocked down 76 last season, and ranks third in the MAC with 65 makes this year. Denise Dove ranks first for threes in a season at 80, with York now just 15 behind.
Marke Freeman has had some of the top all-around performances in the MAC this season. Here’s a look at some of her best stat lines, with a total of points+rebounds+assists+steals calculated.
Date Opponent Pts. Reb. Ast. Stl. Total
1/3 at Chic. St. 13 9 4 4 30
1/5 at Toledo 22 6 9 5 42
1/9 vs. Ball State 33 5 3 3 44
1/12 vs. WMU 24 3 6 2 35
1/23 vs. UB (OT) 36 9 4 3 52
2/10 vs. Ohio 19 7 5 3 34
2/20 vs. Toledo 24 6 10 3 43
NIU hit 9-of-17 three-point attempts in the win over Toledo, a blistering 52.9 percent from the field. Kylie York knocked down 5-of-8 to lead the way, and freshman Brittney Callahan contributed big with six points on 2-of-4 shooting from downtown.
STEPPING IN AND STEPPING UP
Huskie guard Sarah Rogers has played much of the season at forward, helping to fill a role vacated by injured junior Ebony Ellis. In the nine games that Ellis has been hurt, Rogers is averaging 8.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Those averages are up from 4.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game with Ellis in the line-up. Last time out, Rogers tied her career-high with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and added nine rebounds, four steals and two assists in a win over Toledo.
“GUARDING” THE BOARDS
Northern Illinois guards Marke Freeman and Sarah Rogers both rank in the MAC’s top-20 for rebounding in conference play. They are also the two shortest players on the list. Rogers, who stands 5-8, ranks seventh in the league with 7.7 boards per game. At just 5-5, Freeman ranks 16th with 5.6 per contest. Freeman and Rogers are the only guards on the league’s top-20.
HEARTS ON SLEEVES
Northern Illinois has overcome three second-half deficits of nine or more this season. The Huskies trailed by 16 to Buffalo with 13 minutes left, and came back to win by five in overtime. NIU outscored UIC by 16 over the last nine minutes to extinguish the Flames by seven. The Huskies were down by 14 with 12 minutes left at Chicago State and came back to win by five. NIU also held off a charging Loyola team to win on the road by 10 in overtime.
HAY-WOOD YA BLOCK A SHOT?
Freshman forward Shaakira Haywood has wasted no time making herself known to players who venture into the paint. Haywood ranks 11th in the MAC in blocked shots with 12 in league play. The rookie has blocked three shots in a game three times this season, most recently against Akron. She is averaging 2.5 blocks per 40 minutes played.
Marke Freeman dished out a season-best 10 assists against Toledo, demonstrating that her play-making ability goes well beyond scoring. She ranks second in the league in MAC play with 4.8 assists per game.
Marke Freeman leads the MAC in steals with 2.7 per game. She set a career-high with eight steals at No. 24 Nebraska. The junior swiped three in the first half and five in the second period. The total is tied for the fifth-most in a game in NIU history. That record is currently held by Huskie head coach Carol Owens, who totaled 11 steals against Western Illinois in 1988. Freeman has tallied at least four steals eight times this season.
Ten of the 11 players on the Northern Illinois roster have registered career-highs this season. Marke Freeman scored a career-high 36 against Buffalo, the fifth time this season she has set a new career-high. Other Huskies with career-highs include Ebony Ellis (23, vs. Loyola), Mauvolyene Adams (22, vs. SIU), Sarah Rogers (14, vs. CMU), Tenisha Wilson (10, at Milwaukee), Courtney Shelton (15, vs. Buffalo), and Terriel Cannon (14 vs. Buffalo). Freshmen Shaakira Haywood and Brittney Callahan’s career-highs stand at six and seven, respectively. Kylie York is the only Huskie yet to set a career-high this year. York has tallied as many as 23 points this season, four shy of her career-best.
The Huskies have totaled 18 double-doubles in 25 games this season. Forward Mauvolyene Adams has totaled 10, while center Ebony Ellis has registered at least 10 and 10 in five of the 15 games she has appeared in. Marke Freeman added her name to the double-double decadence twice. Her first came with 25 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against Kent State, and she had 24 points and 10 assists versus Toledo. Sarah Rogers has also achieved the feat, securing 11 points and 10 rebounds at Central Michigan for her first career double-double.
ELLIS REMAINS GAME TIME DECISION
Junior forward Ebony Ellis, an All-MAC selection in 2009 who is averaging close to a double-double, remains a game time decision with a right foot injury. Ellis played 16 minutes against Toledo, Saturday. She appeared in a similar role Feb. 2, playing 11 minutes against Bowling Green, and missed the next three games.