DeKalb - The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team (10-17, 4-11 MAC) looks to finish its conference season on a high note at Western Michigan (8-20, 3-12 MAC), Tuesday at 6 p.m. (CST). The Broncos are trying to get out of the 12th seed in the MAC Tournament, while NIU is looking to lock-up ninth.
THE SERIES Western Michigan leads the all-time series against NIU 24-17. With 41 contests, the Huskies have faced the Broncos more than any other opponent in school history.
The series dates back to 1969, when the Huskies won the first meeting 42-18. NIU won the first three in the series, and has matched their longest win streak in the series by taking the last four against the Broncos.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS Western Michigan snapped a four-game losing skid with a 64-56 win over Central Michigan, Saturday. The win was the third conference victory of the season for the Broncos, who are currently the 12th seed in the MAC Tournament. Three Broncos scored in double-figures, including Miame Giden with 16, Brenna Bankston with 12 and DeAirra Goss with 11.
LAST TIME AGAINST WMU The Huskies put forth one of their best defensive efforts of the year, and combined it with a stellar offensive night to defeat Western Michigan, 73-47, at the Convocation Center.
Junior guard Marke Freeman continued a hot scoring streak, pouring in 19 in the first half. She tallied 24 for the game to lead all scorers, and added six assists, three rebounds and two steals. Freeman was joined in double-figures by Kylie York and Mauvolyene Adams, who each scored 14.
That trio of double-digit scorers got NIU off to a quick start. York and Freeman connected on back-to-back three-pointers, and Adams sunk a lay-up to give NIU an 8-0 lead. Western Michigan fought back with a 10-2 run to tie the game. The Huskies countered with a 10-1 run to go up 20-11 nine minutes into the game. WMU wouldn’t get any closer than that, and NIU headed into halftime with a 40-23 lead.
The 47 points allowed by NIU was their best defensive performance of the season. On the night, the Broncos shot just 33.3 percent (19-of-57) from the field, and hit only 2-of-14 three-pointers (14.3 percent).
The Huskie offense also clicked for 40 minutes. NIU shot 45 percent from the field (27-of-60) and on three-pointers (9-of-20), and totaled 16 assists on 26 made shots. In addition to Freeman’s six dimes, Courtney Shelton dished out five assists to go with seven points and seven rebounds.
On the glass, NIU outrebounded Western Michigan 42-34, thanks in large part to 11 boards from Sarah Rogers. The total tied her career-high, which she set earlier this season against Milwaukee. Rogers also scored six points, helping a balanced offensive attack that proved too potent for the Broncos.
WMU was led in scoring by Ebony Cleary with 14, and Miame Giden with 11.
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.
SCORING SHOWDOWN Northern Illinois’ Marke Freeman and Eastern Michigan’s Tavelyn James, the two leading scorers in the MAC met in a showdown of the top two scorers in the league, Saturday. After a 30-point outburst by Freeman and NIU held James to 17, Freeman took the lead in the race to the scoring title. She is averaging a league-best 19.7 points per game in MAC contests. ONE SHY OF 1,000 Senior Kylie York is en route to becoming the 25th member of the Northern Illinois 1,000-Point Club. York has scored 999 points in her career at NIU. That total includes 810 points on 270 career three-pointers made, the most in Huskie history.
19-5-4 Marke Freeman is the only player in the Mid-American Conference to average at least 19 points, five rebounds and four assists per game in league play. She leads the MAC with 19.7 points per game, while her 4.7 assists per game are second best. She also averages 5.2 boards a contest.
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. Since Ellis’ first missed game of the season, Jan. 9, Rogers is scoring 8.4 points and grabbing 8.2 rebounds per game. In that time, she has had two double-doubles, scored in double-figures seven times, and grabbed double-digit boards on four occasions.
LINE-AGE 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 2/27 vs. EMU 30 5 3 2 40
LIGHTS OUT 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.
“GUARDING” THE BOARDS Northern Illinois guard Sarah Rogers ranks in the MAC’s top-10 for rebounding in conference play. The shortest player on the list, the 5-foot-8 Rogers ranks sixth in the league with 7.9 boards per game. Rogers is the only guard in the top-20. She is joined in the top-10 by teammate Mauvolyene Adams, who sits in seventh at 7.8 rebounds per game. NIU is one of only two teams in the league with two players in the top-10. 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. SHE GIVES... 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. ...AND TAKES 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. Freeman has tallied at least four steals eight times this season, and could become only the second player in
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 12th in the MAC in blocked shots with 13 in league play. The rookie has blocked three shots in a game three times this season, most recently against Akron. She is averaging 2.6 blocks per 40 minutes played.
CAREER ADVANCEMENT 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.
DOUBLE DIPS The Huskies have totaled 19 double-doubles in 65 games this season. Forward Mauvolyene Adams leads the way with 10, while center Ebony Ellis has registered at least 10 and 10 in five of the 15 games she has appeared in. Sarah Rogers has also achieved the feat, securing 11 points and 10 rebounds at Central Michigan for her first career double-double. Rogers added a 12-point, 15-rebound performance at Ball State for her second double-dip in three games.
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. Freeman is the first NIU player since NIU rejoined the MAC to have a point-rebound and a point-assist double-double in her career.
MOST IMPROVED HUSKIE After playing in just 13 games her freshman season, averaging 3.5 minutes per appearance, Courtney Shelton has broken out in her sophomore season. Shelton, who earned a place in the starting line-up with her preseason play and has started every game, ranks fourth on the team in minutes per game with 27.3. She’s scored a career-high nine points twice, and is averaging 4.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
BIG MARGINS IN OVERTIME Since last season, NIU has gone 5-1 in overtime games. In the five wins, the Huskies have outdone their opponents by 6.9 points per game. Most recently, NIU beat Buffalo 93-88 after trailing by as much as 16 in the second half. The Huskies also defeated Loyola in OT this season, downing the Ramblers on the road, 74-65.