March 4, 2014
Game 27 - vs Ball State (Muncie, Ind.)
Wednesday, March 5 (6 p.m.)
Live Stats: BallStateSports.com
Radio: WLBK 98.9 FM; 1360 AM; NIUTube (5:45 p.m. pregame)
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia
The Last Meeting
February 9, 2014
Huskies Hot With the Threes, but Fall to Ball State
The Northern Illinois women's basketball team had one of its best three-point shooting games of the season versus Ball State Sunday at the NIU Convocation Center. While the Huskies (8-13, 4-7 MAC) were 7-of-11 from behind the arc, one made shot from tying their season-high, but it was not enough against the Cardinals (10-12, 5-6 MAC) as they fell, 63-50 ...
NIU CLOSES ROAD SCHEDULE AT BALL STATE
Hoping for a strong finish in the final week of the Mid-American Conference regular season, the Northern Illinois women’s basketball team will play its final road contest of its 2013-14 register Wednesday, March 5 when it takes on Ball State. The Huskies and Cardinals will tipoff at 6 p.m., Central and will be aired live in DeKalb on WLBK FM 98.9 and 1360 AM.
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.
LAST TIME OUT
The Huskies began its final road swing of the season Sunday, March 2 at Eastern Michigan as Northern Illinois looked to capture its second-straight MAC contest, having defeated Toledo in overtime, 68-59, on February 27. The Eagles jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening two and a half minutes of the contest until the Huskies began to trade baskets with their foe for the remainder of the period as the teams reached a tie twice and traded the lead four times. The first half set a defensive cadence that would keep time throughout the contest as each team combined for 19 turnovers and 10 steals in the half. Tied 23-23 with under two minutes left to play, EMU took a one point lead with 1:25 as Phyllis Webb drained the first of two free throws to give the Eagles the lead at halftime, 24-23.
NIU looked poised to overthrow Eastern Michigan in the early goings of the contest as Ally Lehman hit a pair of free throws 29 seconds into the half to put the Huskies back up, 25-24. However, the Eagles went on a 14-2 run over the next 3:50 to go up 39-27 on a three-point play after the first media timeout. Northern Illinois would mount a charge on the EMU lead, coming within five points of the lead with 6:29 left in the half, 45-40, on a Lehman layup but the Eagles opportunistic rebounding in that final stretch, 9-6, lead to a 9-5 scoring run to lift Eastern Michigan over the Huskies, 54-45. The Huskies post presence was strong in the game as they outscored the Eagles, 26-18, in the paint and outrebounded them, 37-31. Natecia Augusta led NIU with 12 points in the post, shooting 6-of-10 from the field. Jenna Thorp pulled down nine rebounds and added four points while freshman Jazmine Harris added seven points and eight rebounds.
REMATCH - HUSKIES AND THE EAGLES
Wednesday night’s affair with the Cardinals will be the Huskies second meeting with Ball State as NIU hosted BSU February 9 at the Convocation Center. While NIU was hot from behind the arc, it was unable to get over the hump versus Ball State, falling, 63-50.
The Huskies and the Cardinals went back and forth in the first 10 and a half minutes of the opening half as Natecia Augusta
drained a jumpshot with 9:23 left in the first half to put NIU on top of BSU, 14-13. With smothering defense the name of the game, each team remained scoreless for nearly two and half minutes until Ball State drained a three-point shot with 6:36 left to take a 17-14 lead, a lead it would hold for the remainder of the game.
After owning a 28-18 advantage at halftime, BSU would build an 18 point lead in the half as both offensives opened up in the contest. The Huskies would scored 32 points in the second half, shooting 6-of-8 from behind the arc in the second half as Alexis Lindstrom
shot 3-for-4 from behind the line to lead the NIU bench in scoring. Indianapolis, Ind., native Danny Pulliam
would lead Northern Illinois in scoring with an 11 point clip, dishing four assists and grabbing four rebounds.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
Ball State is 12-15 this season with a 7-9 record in Mid-American Conference tilts. The Cardinals are in 2-3 in their last five games with road wins at Miami and most recently at Western Michigan to open March. BSU’s physical style of defense has been disruptive throughout the season as they have caused an average of 16.9 turnovers per game this season. In the MAC standings currently, Ball State is seventh in the conference with two home games remaining.. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they are 3-7 at Worthen Arena while holding an 8-7 mark when outside of Muncie.
Nathaie Fontaine is pacing the squad in just about every statistical category this season as she leads in points (16.7), rebounds (6.4), field goal percentage (.485), minutes (33.7) and blocks (0.5). Three other players on the Ball State players are scoring in double figures through this juncture in the season, including point guard Brandy Woody, who is also averaging 6.1 rebounds per game and 3.8 assists per game to compliment her 10.0 points per contest.
THE POST IS GETTING STRONGER
The Northern Illinois forwards have been strong throughout the entire season but the consistency of their production has increased as of late with production coming off ofthe bench as well. The trio of juniors Natecia Augusta and Jenna Thorp and freshman Jazmine Harris have accounted for 45.6 percent of the teams points in the last three games (28.9 PPG) and 53.8 percent of the teams rebounds in that span (19.9 RPG). Harris leads the trio in averages in the last three games with 11.0 points and 7.3 rebounds, while Augusta is the second scorer at 10.6 points and 5.6 boards. Thorp is the median at 7.3 points and 7.0 rebounds.
A GREAT NIGHT BEHIND THE LINE
NIU had one of its best night’s behind the three-point line all season the last time it played Ball State as it finished 7-for-11 (.636) from three-point range. The Huskies exploded in the second half against the Cardinals as they hit 6-of-8 (.750) shots taken from behind the arc. The game remains NIU’s best game percentage wise in three-point field goal attempts and the second-most field goals made from behind the arc, behind eight baskets versus Lamar on November 30 and Central Michigan January 15.
Three Huskies -- Amanda Corral (Hobart), Ally Lehman (Nineveh) and Danny Pulliam (Indianapolis) -- will be playing in their home state Wednesday night at Ball State. It is NIU’s only game in the state of Indiana this season.
GIVE ME A SECOND CHANCE
The Huskies took advantage of their 11 offensive boards against Ball State earlier this season, outscoring the Cardinals, 16-5, while pulling down 11 offensive rebounds to BSU.
A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING
Junior Amanda Corral did a little bit of everything last time out at Eastern Michigan, despite being ill. While she only scored seven points against the Eagles, she was flawless from the free throw line, 3-for-3, with three offensive rebounds, three assists and a steal.
PUTTING IN TIME
In the last two games, freshman Jazmine Harris has recorded 22-or-more minutes in a game for the first time in her career. Versus Toledo, Harris played a career-high 24 minutes to surpass her previous long of 19 minutes against Northern Iowa on December 21. At Eastern Michigan, the West Allis, Wis., native appeared in 22 minutes of the game. In each of those games, Harris has recorded the top-two rebounding performances of her career at nine and eight against the Rockets and Eagles, respectively.
KEEPING TRACK - NIU IN RETURN GAMES
The Huskies are playing their sixth return game of the Mid-American Conference season Wednesday at Ball State, after starting their return schedule February 15 at Buffalo. After going 4-7 in its first round of games, NIU is 1-4 in return games thus far after defeating Toledo February 27 in overtime, 68-59. Most recently, the Huskies dropped a 54-45 contest at Eastern Michigan. As junior Natecia Augusta put it in an interview before the game Central Michigan on January 15, “one of our goals this season is to at least one game versus each of our conference opponents, or win both.” While NIU will have to wait until the MAC Tournament to accomplish that feat versus Akron, Buffalo and Central Michigan, the Huskies will have the chance to finish strong with a potential 3-4 record in return games with Western Michigan and Ball State left on the slate.
FOCUS. FINISH. EXECUTE.
In the last six minutes of regulation and five minutes of overtime versus Toledo on February 27, Northern Illinois was white-hot from field shooting 11-of-14 (.786), including 3-for-3 from behind the three-point line to outscore Toledo, 28-12. Alexis Lindstrom was 2-for-2 behind the arc, including one trey in overtime while Amanda Corral nailed the other three-point basket in overtime. NIU was 5-of-7 (.714) in the final six minutes of regulation.
OVERTIME - UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY FOR SOME HUSKIES
The Huskies played its first overtime game in almost two years last Thursday versus Toledo, last playing free basketball February 28, 2011 at Western Michigan, a 66-64 loss for Northern Illinois. After a dominating finish for NIU, the Huskies defeated UT, 68-59, to earn their first overtime victory since November 16, 2011 versus Western Illinois in double overtime, 91-84. Of the nine Huskies that played in the contest, three players -- freshmen Jazmine Harris and Ally Lehman, and sophomore Alexis Lindstrom -- had never played in an overtime game. Harris had four points in overtime, making two free throws and basket, while Lindstrom hit a three-pointer to kickstart an 8-0 run for NIU to start the period.
Freshman Jazmine Harris has had her ups and downs throughout the season but has been one of the Huskies most exciting players off the bench in 23 games this season. In the last four games, Harris has averaged 9.3 points per game for Northern Illinois as she has posted double-figures twice in the recent run of good form, scoring 14 points against Central Michigan on February 22 and 12 versus Toledo February 27.
MORE BEBOPPIN’ AND SKATTIN’ WITH JAZ
Against Toledo, Jazmine Harris posted several season-highs in the game as she played a vital role in the Huskies first victory over the Rockets since 2011. Harris pulled down a season-high nine rebounds, seven off the defensive glass to set career-highs in both categories. The freshman also played 24 minutes in the 45 minute overtime contest, surpassing her previous longest outing of 19 minutes against Northern Iowa on December 21.
POUNDING THE PAINT
The Huskies have had their tendencies this season and scoring down in the paint has been a strength of the team. Through 26 games this year, NIU has averaged 25 points in the paint per game. 21 times this season Northern Illinois has accumulated 20-or-more points and has scored 30-or-more five times. The Huskies had their second-best performance in the paint against Central Michigan on February 22 as they scored 40 points in the post.
HOT LIKE FIRE, COOL LIKE WATER
Sophomore Alexis Lindstrom has shot with confidence from behind the three-point line over the last eight games for the Huskies as Lindstrom has hit .419 of her shots, draining 18-of-43 shots attempted. Last time out, Lindstrom was 4-of-5 from behind the line to tie season-highs in three-point shots made and points with 14. Heading into this run of good form, Lindstrom only made 3-of-12 shots attempted in the previous five games.
Northern Illinois will close the regular season Saturday, March 8 with the first game of a doubleheader against Western Michigan. The Huskies and Broncos will tipoff at 1 p.m., while the men will follow 30 minutes after.