ILLINOIS 82, BALL STATE 62
Scott (Reynoldsburg, OH) scored 20 points and Jennifer Youngblood
(Rock Island) added 18 as Northern Illinois defeated Ball State
82-62 in Mid-American Conference women's basketball Wednesday (Mar.
2), earning a first-round home game in the conference tournament.
the eighth seed for the league summit, finishing the regular season
at 7-9 in the conference and 12-15 overall. Ball State dropped its
sixth game in a row, entering the tournament with identical league
and overall marks.
closed the first half on an 11-2 run and outscored the Cardinals
14-4 at the outset of the second half, building a 44-27 lead on
Scott's jumper with 16:37 remaining in the game. Ball State could
get no closer than 11 the rest of the way, despite Kate Endress
scoring 17 of her game-high 23 points after intermission.
BSU held a 21-19
lead after an Endress jumper 6:05 before the break. The Cardinals
managed only one basket the rest of the way, however, with Youngblood
and fellow senior Lindsay Secrest (Bloomfield, IN) combining for
nine of the hosts' 11 points during the late flurry. Northern Illinois
shot just 34.2 percent (13-of-38) from the floor in the opening
20 minutes but held the Cardinals to 34.5 percent (10-of-29) over
The second half
was a different story for the Huskies, who scored 52 points after
the break by shooting 63 percent (19-of-30) from the field and committing
only four turnovers. Senior guard Monique Davis (Columbus, OH /
Marion-Franklin) added 15 points in 27 minutes after starting in
place of freshman point guard Stephanie Raymond (Rockford / Lutheran),
who sat out the game due to a back injury suffered Saturday (Feb.
28) versus Central Michigan.
proud of this team, especially the seniors," Northern Illinois
coach Carol Hammerle said. "Monique did a great job tonight.
She knew she would play a lot of minutes, and was so focused. And
Jennifer was amazing again tonight. She and Joi are just a dynamic
duo inside. They were unstoppable tonight."
Scott was nine-of-13
from the field while Youngblood canned seven of 13 shots and also
grabbed 12 rebounds for her 36th career double-double, putting her
fourth on NIU's all-time list in that category. Youngblood also
has 995 career caroms, needing five more to become the fifth player
in MAC history to reach the 1,000-board plateau. Her efforts powered
Northern Illinois to a 44-32 rebounding advantage.
the only Cardinal in double figures, with Kelsey Corbin adding nine
and Johna Goff contributing eight. Goff was only four-of-14 from
the field, however, missing all seven of her shots from behind the
arc. As a team, Ball State was only two-for-20 from the tri-light
zone, part of a 39.7 percent (25-of-63) overall showing.
great defense tonight, and we took good care of the basketball."
Hammerle said. "I'm so proud of the focus, discipline and determination
we showed tonight."
really worried about NIU's post play, and they overpowered us tonight,"
Ball State coach Tracy Roller admitted. "And Monique Davis
really stepped up for a team in need of leadership. She did a nice
job, and Joi Scott is really playing well."
and Cardinals meet again in the first round of the MAC postseason
tournament, with NIU hosting a 12:05 p.m. matinee Saturday (Mar.
6). Other first-round games include No. 12 seed Akron (7-20 overall,
2-14 in the MAC) visiting fifth seed Western Michigan (16-11, 11-5),
tenth seed Ohio (13-14, 7-9) at No. 7 seed Toledo (12-15, 8-8) and
No. 11 seed Buffalo (6-20, 4-12) at No. 6 Marshall (16-11, 8-8).
Bowling Green St. (18-9, 11-5) hosts No. 13 seed Central Michigan
(5-22, 1-15). Miami (OH) earned the top seed with a 14-2 league
ledger as part of a 20-7 overall mark while No. 2 seed Eastern Michigan
(19-7, 12-4) and No. 3 seed Kent State (19-8, 12-4) also gained
berths into the quarterfinals, Wednesday (Mar. 10) at Cleveland's
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by Robert Hester