Feb. 29, 2008
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DEKALB, Ill.-The Northern Illinois University women's basketball team looks to build on its 67-65 victory over Western Michigan Wednesday night when the Huskies welcome the Eagles of Eastern Michigan to the Convocation Center Saturday. Saturday's game will be televised by Fox Sports Net Ohio and carried locally on Comcast SportsNet. Tip off is set for 11 a.m.
"I thought we did a good job, our kids were ready to play," NIU head coach Carol Owens said. "It was an emotional day, emotion game, but I thought they responded well. Obviously the second half was better than the first, but I was pleased with how we played."
Saturday's game takes on an added meaning for two Huskies (10-14, 6-5) in particular. Seniors Whitney Lowe (Bushnell, Ill./Prairie City) and Tara Michels (Dixon, Ill./Dixon) will be recognized before the game for all they've done for the NIU women's basketball program.
"They've meant a lot to the program. Tara and Whitney were sophomores when I got here and they really embraced what we wanted to do," Owens said. "Tara has gone through a series of injuries. She's been such a strong individual mentally and physically. Whitney has been a constant. She's come on strong for us as a senior. She leads us in scoring and I'm just proud of the things they've accomplished the last couple years."
Eastern Michigan leads the all-time series 20-8 and won the last meeting between the two, 61-42, in the conference opener Jan. 9, 2008 at Eastern Michigan. The first half was a sloppy affair, with the two teams combining for as many turnovers as points, 32. Shari' Welton led the way for the Huskies with 13 points, while Lowe added 11. The last Huskie victory came Feb. 14, 2007 when NIU handed the Eagles an 82-68 defeat in DeKalb. That victory snapped a four-game EMU winning streak over the Huskies.
Northern Illinois extended its home-winning streak to five when the Huskies defeated Western Michigan Wednesday night. It was Northern Illinois' first game since the tragic events of February 14th. The Huskies own an 8-2 mark at the Convocation Center this season. NIU enters Saturday's game winners of five of their last seven games.
Eastern Michigan (15-11, 9-5) also comes into Saturday's game on a high. The Eagles posted a 58-57 victory over Toledo Wednesday night at Toledo. The Eagles are 2-2 in their last four games and are 8-5 on the road this season.
"I feel like we're a different team (since our last meeting)," she said. "We've gotten better in a lot of areas. I feel like our freshmen are coming along. Our team is looking forward to playing at home. It will be an early day for us, but we'll be ready to play."
Fans can follow all the action with Bill Baker on 1360 AM WLBK. For tickets, contact the NIU ticket office at 815-752-6800 or log on to www.niuhuskies.com.