March 11, 2014
2013-14 MAC Tournament Guide
MAC TOURNAMENT SECOND ROUND
Game 29 - vs Ball State (Cleveland, Ohio)
Wednesday, March 12 (11 a.m.)
Live Stats: MAC-Sports.com
Radio: NIUTube (10:45 a.m. pregame)
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia
NIU BACK AT THE Q FOR #MACtion
After a year’s hiatus, Northern Illinois is back in Cleveland for the Mid-American Conference Tournament as the Huskies take on No. 5 seed Ball State in the second round of the tournament at Quicken Loans Arena. Slated for Wednesday, March 12, tipoff is set for 11 a.m. Central.
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.
Fans can follow the entire tournament on MAC-Sports.com as all games from the tournament will be streamed live on the MAC’s Tournament Central page. Links to live stats can be viewed on the page as well.
LAST TIME OUT
Riding high from a victory on Senior Day against Western Michigan, NIU went out on the road for a first round MAC Tournament matchup at No. 8 seed Eastern Michigan, whom the Huskies faced only eight days prior. Right out of the gate NIU was bound and determined to repeat the 54-45 loss to Eagles as they nailed shot after shot in the half, eventually leading to a .609 field goal percentage. However, EMU had the same idea as it shot .583 from the field in the half.
Both teams key players in the contest found themselves in foul trouble early. Huskie junior Amanda Corral, who had eight points in the first nine minutes of the game, sat the final 10:49 of the first half with two fouls, opening the door for Alexis Lindstrom -- who set a new MAC Tournament record in three point field goals as she was 9-for-11 behind the arc and 11-of-14 from the field. Lindstrom tied NIU’s postseason scoring record with 31 points.
While the Eagles limited Lindstrom’s damage in the second half after a spectacular first period, the outside pressure by EMU opened the post for Natecia Augusta who finished with a career-high 24 points, 16 of which came in the second half of play. Regulation was not enough for the two teams as five minutes of overtime was needed, however, NIU was up to the task as it won its second overtime game of the season to defeat the Eagles, 81-75.
IT HAD BEEN A WHILE
The Huskies victory at Eastern Michigan was NIU’s first win in Ypsilanti, Mich., since January 8, 2005, a 55-53 Northern Illinois victory.
OVERTIME #MACtion - A HOT COMMODITY
The Huskies and Eagles overtime showdown in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament was the first postseason game since 2008 to feature free basketball, a double overtime contest in which Ohio defeated Bowling Green, 68-66. The NIU-EMU contest was the 11th overtime game in conference tournament history. The Huskies are now 1-0 in overtime MAC Tournament contests while Eastern Michigan fell to 0-3.
After her roommate Amanda Corral was forced to sit on the bench for most of the first and second half with fould trouble, Alexis Lindstrom was simply phenomenal for the Huskies off the bench Wednesday night as she set a new NIU postseason scoring record with 31 points. The sophomore accounted for all of the Huskies bench points in the contest, outscoring EMU’s bench, 31-25. Lindstrom’s 31 points tied the efforts of two Northern Illinois Hall of Famers - Tammy Hinchee and Carol Owens - who each scored 31 points in the 1989 and 1990 North Star Conference Tournament, respectively. Lindstrom’s performance occurred 25 years to the day of Hinchee’s, who dropped 31 points versus Akron on March 10, 1989. In the process, Lindstrom also snapped another Hall of Famer’s record, Denise Dove, as Dove was responsible for seven made three-point field goals - the most made by an NIU player in a single game until that point.
A NEW MAC RECORD
With her 9-of-11 performance behind the arc Wednesday night at Eastern Michigan, Alexis Lindstrom set a new Mid-American Conference Tournament record for three-point field goals made. The sophomore passed Bowling Green’s Tracy Pontius’ mark of eight baskets made in 2009. With at least one game remaining, Lindstrom is three baskets away from tying Pontius’ record of three-point field goals made in the tournament at 12.
HELP ME, HELP YOU
Northern Illinois set a new season-high in assists versus Eastern Michigan on March 10 as the Huskies dished 24 helpers in the contest. NIU broke down the EMU zone effectively as the Huskies were 30-of-56 from the field, recording an assist on 80 percent of its baskets made in the game. The 24 assists were also a new postseason record for Northern Illinois, surpassing the mark of 22 assists set versus Cleveland State March 9, 1989 in the North Star Conference Tournament.
SAVING YOUR BEST WHEN IT MATTERS
The Huskies 81 points versus Eastern Michigan was Northern Illinois best scoring performance of the season, surpassing 79 point performances versus Mississippi Valley State (November 12) and Lamar (November 30). The 81 points was the most by the Huskies since a 94 point performance in a double overtime victory versus Western Illinois in 2011 and the most in postseason play since scoring 87 against Notre Dame on March 10, 1995 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournament. The Huskies would advance to the NCAA Tournament that same season after defeating La Salle in overtime, 80-77.
LIGHTS OUT LINDSTROM
For a player who had never played an overtime game in college until February 27, 2014, sophomore Alexis Lindstrom hasn’t shot like a rookie in overtime this season as she is 4-of-4 from the field in overtime, including a 3-for-3 mark behind the three-point line. After hitting a trey to start an 8-0 run for NIU in its first overtime game of the season versus Toledo, Lindstrom was 2-for-2 beyond the arc and 3-for-3 from the field at Eastern Michigan. The Howards Grove, Wis., native also accounted for all of Northern Illinois’ field goals in the overtime period against the Eagles.
CORRAL NAMED THIRD TEAM ALL-MAC
Prior to Wednesday night’s game, junior Amanda Corral was named the Mid-American Conference’s all-conference third team, becoming the first Huskie since Marke Freeman in 2010-11 (second team) to earn the distinction. Corral averaged 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in the regular season in the regular season and scored 10-or-more points 20 times during the season while surpassing 20 points seven times.
While elementary math teaches us that seven is prime number, on the NIU basketball roster it is a prime number as well as seven Huskies entered the Mid-American Conference Tournament with previous tournament experience. The prime number drops to five when it comes to Huskies with experience playing at Quicken Loans Arena for the tournament as five Huskies, Natecia Augusta, Amanda Corral, Alicia Johnson, Ashley Sneed and Jenna Thorp, each played in the Huskies quarterfinal round in 2012.
PLAYING SMART AND UNDER PRESSURE
Junior Amanda Corral was on fire for NIU to start the game Wednesday night, going 3-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 behind the arc with eight points. However, with 10:49 left in the first half, Corral picked up her second foul and had to sit the rest of the period. In the second half, despite picking up her third and fourth fouls, Corral had five points and four rebounds in the frame to relieve the pressure from Natecia Augusta and Alexis Lindstrom. All told, the Hobart, Ind., native finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes of foul trouble basketball.
DOWN LOW, DOING WORK
Junior Natecia Augusta had a career-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at EMU. Augusta surpassed her previous high of 17 points, set in NIU’s home-opener against Mississippi Valley State on November 12. In the second period alone, Augusta scored 16 points - one point off of her season-high. In the three game series with Eastern Michigan this season, Augusta averaged 15.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, shooting .677 from the field.
STICKING IT TO A HOME STATE SCHOOL
Hailing from Indianapolis, Ind., junior Danny Pulliam has been the only Huskie to score in double-digits against Ball State as she posted 11 points in the home meeting February 9 and followed up with 12 points in the Hoosier State. Pulliam has also accounted for 3.5 assists and is 5-for-7 (.714) from behind the three-point line in the series.
THORP NOT FAR BEHIND
Danny Pulliam’s classmate Jenna Thorp is not far behind in the series scoring annals as she is averaging 11.0 points this season versus the Cardinals. In the last meeting at Worthen Arena on March 5, Thorp’s shooting was clinical as she was 5-for-6 from the field, 2-for-3 behind the three-point line and 2-for-2 at three free throw line for a season-high 14 points. The Hinckley, Ill., native also accumulated five rebounds in the contest. In the first meeting in DeKalb February 9, Thorp put in a well balanced effort with eight points and seven rebounds, despite racking up four fouls in the contest.
THE MOST COMMON FOE
Wednesday afternoon’s matchup between Northern Illinois and Ball State will be fourth meeting between the two schools in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, making BSU NIU’s most common foe. In the all-time postseason series, the Huskies trail the Cardinals 0-3 with one loss in the first round and two losses in the semifinal round in Cleveland. NIU and BSU last met in the tournament semifinals in 2007, an 80-71 victory for the Cardinals, who went on to lose in the championship game to Bowling Green, 67-53.
THEY WON LIKE THE HUSKIES WON
Seven days. One week. However you want to put it, the Huskies and Cardinals last played each other March 5 in Muncie, Ind., a 67-57 victory for Ball State that clinched the regular season series for BSU. While Huskies were a respectable .412 from the field shooting, the Cardinals were lights out with a clip of .458 in the game, including an 11-for-23 average (.423) behind the three point line. Brittany Carter was the main culprit as she was 6-of-10 beyond the arc. At Eastern Michigan last time out, the Huskies were a season-high 11-for-15 (.723) from behind the three-point arc to best EMU’s .459 field goal percentage.
THEY’RE ALMOST EVEN NOW
Under the current format of campus site first round matchups, the No. 9 seed entered the 2014 MAC Tournament with a 4-6 record at the No, 8 seed. After the Huskies 81-75 overtime victory at Eastern Michigan Sunday, the No. 9 seed is now 5-6 on the road in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
HISTORY 102 - HUSKIES IN THE MAC TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND
Including its previous affilition from 1982-86, NIU has qualified for the Mid-American Conference 17 times, including this season. All-time in the first round, the Huskies are 5-12, while in other rounds Northern Illinois is a combined, 4-7. NIU has lost in the MAC Tournament Semifinal Round four times, never advancing to a championship. Both Ball State (2002 and 2007) and Central Michigan (1984 and 1985) have defeated NIU to advance to the championship game.
AVOIDING THE SWEEP
In the three previous times that Northern Illinois has faced Ball State in the same season, the Huskies have only been swept by the Cardinals once. NIU won at least one game in the three game series in 2002 and 2004, but, was swept in the three game series in 2007.
The Huskies had two players, Natecia Augusta and Alexis Lindstrom, score 20-plus points last time out versus Eastern Michigan, markign the first time all season that two different Huskies scored 20-or-more points in the same game.
THE BEST AGAINST THE EAGLES
NIU’s best single player scoring performances both occurred Eastern Michigan in the 2013-14 season. In the first matchup on January 12, Amanda Corral recorded 30 points to set a new career-high. On Monday night, Alexis Lindstrom snapped Corral’s season-high output with her career-high 31 point performance.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
With four straight wins, Ball State is 15-15 this season with one win on the road, Western Michigan, and three-straight at home, NIU, Toledo and Kent State. In the first round of the MAC Tournament, BSU manhandled No. 12 seed Kent State, 73-58, as Nathalie Fontaine scored 21 points and the supporting cast of Shelbie Justice and Jill Morrison accounted for 12 and 18, respectively. Defensively, the Cardinals held the 7-23 Golden Flashes to 15 points in the first half and outscored them on transition in fast break situations, 11-0. Rebounding and turnovers will be the opponents keys as the Cardinals are -0.8 in rebounding margin and -0.9 in turnover margin through 30 games.
Not much has changed since the last meeting between the two teams seven days ago as Nathalie Fontaine leads the team in scoring and rebounding per game at clips of 16.8 and 6.4, respectively. Point guard Brandy Woody is nearly surpassing the four assist mark with a 3.9 average while scoring 9.8 points per game. Brittany Carter and Shelbie Justice round out the groups scoring at 11.0 and 10.3 points per game, respectively.
BOARDING AT A PREMIUM
While its total was not its highest of the season, Northern Illinois had its best rebounding margin Wednesday night at Ball State since January 4 in the Huskies MAC opener against Ohio. Last time out against the Cardinals, NIU posted a +9 rebounding margin as it posted 34 boards to BSU’s 25. Versus the Bobcats in the conference opener, NIU was +13 in rebounds, five shy of tying its season-high against Mississippi Valley State in the home opener on November 11, 2013. NIU set its season-high in rebounds against the Devilettes, grabbing 51 boards in the game.
THE POST IS STRONG IN YOU
The Northern Illinois forwards have been strong throughout the entire season but the consistency of their production has increased as of late as post presence is now manufactured off of the bench as well. The trio of Natecia Augusta, Jazmine Harris and Jenna Thorp have accounted for 43.7 percent of the teams points in the last six games (28.2 PPG) and 49.5 percent of the teams rebounds in that span (17.8 RPG). Augusta leads the group in scoring with 12.0 points and is second in rebounding with 6.3 boards. Thorp and Harris are tied in points with 8.0 points each, however, Thorp owns a 6.5 rebound average while Harris is grabbing 5.0 boards in that stretch.
AUGUSTA GOING FOR AVERAGE
Junior Natecia Augusta has easily been one of the Huskies most improved players from last season. After averaging 6.2 points and a field goal percentage of .527, she has improved her scoring average to 10.3 points per game with a field goal percentage of .537, the second-best clip this season in the Mid-American Conference. Augusta has also recorded four double-doubles this season and last had one at Central Michigan with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
REBOUNDING BY COMMITTEE
Northern Illinois outrebounded Western Michigan March 8, 36-31, as all nine Huskies who played pulled down rebounds in the contest. Not only did every NIU player account for at least one rebound, but no player amassed more than five in the game as Natecia Augusta, Amanda Corral, Ally Lehman and Jenna Thorp each shared the lead in boards with five. The Huskies also had five team rebounds in the contest.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE...
In order to play good defense, it takes all five players to work together and communicate on the floor. The Huskies did just that versus Western Michigan on March 8 as they held the Broncos to 51 points. More impressively, for the first time all season, NIU held all players on an opponents roster to under 10 points in a game. The Huskies allowed Bronco Marquisha Harris to score eight points from the post, the most by any WMU player in the regular season finale. It was the first time since December 29, 2012 versus Norfolk State at the Cavalier Classic in Charlottsville, Va., that the Huskies did not allow an opponent score 10-or-more points as Northern Illinois defeated the Spartans, 69-38.
NATECIA’S BLOCK PARTY
Four-times, junior Natecia Augusta has blocked three shots in a game, last doing so against Eastern Michigan on March 10. For the season, the Peoria, Ill., native has 23, an average of 0.8 per game. In the last 19 games, she has racked up 17 blocks for an average of 0.9 per game. Augusta is tied for sixth in the Mid-American Conference in both conference games and for the season.
KEY TO SUCCESS: REBOUNDING
When comparing Northern Illinois and its opponents, the key to the Huskies success has been rebounding. NIU has outrebounded its opponents 16 times this season and is 10-6 when accomplishing the feat. The rebounds have negated second chance opportunities for the Huskies opponents as they’re outscoring their opponents, 184-140 (+44), when outrebounding their foes.
HOLDING THEM DOWN
For the fifth time this season, the Huskies limited an opponent to 20-or-fewer points in a period as they held Western Michigan to 20 points in the second half of the game. Iwas the first time since NIU held Akron to 20 points in the first half in the Northern Illinois-Zips match up on February 5. NIU also held Kent State, Illinois State and Eastern Michigan to 20 points or less in a half this season.
A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN 17 DAYS
Freshman Ally Lehman has accomplished a lot on the court in the last 17 days (five games) as she has twice set new career scoring highs. At Akron on February 19, Lehman scored 14 points in the second half to set a new game scoring high. Versus Western Michigan in the regular season finale, the Nineveh, Ind., native scored 16 points to lead all scorers in the game and NIU to victory, 59-51.
FINAL SCORE - NIU IN RETURN GAMES
After going 4-7 in its first round of games, NIU finished 2-5 in return games in the Mid-American Conferece, defeating Toledo February 27 in overtime, 68-59, and Western Michigan in the MAC finale on March 8, 59-51. 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 win one game versus each of our conference opponents, or win both.” Against the 11 other MAC schools this season, the Huskies defeated six (Ohio, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Miami, Kent State, Western Michigan) at least once or earned a split in the series.
THE PRIDE OF HINCKLEY, ILLINOIS
Despite starting off the season with an injury sustained during a preseason scrimmage that forced her to miss the first three games of the season, junior Jenna Thorp has had a career season for the Huskies in 2013-14. Her efficiency has improved as she has played an average of three fewer minutes per game than last season, yet she has set career-highs in field goals made (66), field goal percentage (.413), rebounds per game (5.5) and offensive rebounds (49).
THE CENTURY CLUB
Last Wednesday at Ball State, senior Ashley Sneed made her 100th career appearance for Northern Illinois as she entered the game wih 13:29 remaining in the first half. She became the second Huskie to reach the 100-game plateau this season as her classmate, Johnson, surpassed the century mark January 29 versus Kent State at the NIU Convocation Center.
WELL ROUNDED EFFORT
Junior Natecia Augusta had a consistent Wednesday night on March 5 at Ball State as she scored nine points and pulled down eight rebounds, falling just shy of her fifth double-double of the season. It was her 11th game this season in which she scored at least eight points and grabbed six rebounds.
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 25 games this season. In the last six games, Harris has averaged 8.8 points per game for Northern Illinois as she has posted double-figures three times in the recent run of good form, scoring 14 points against Central Michigan on February 22, 12 versus Toledo on February 27 and 10 points in the first half at Ball State, her first double-digit scoring effort on the road this season.
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 28 games this year, NIU has averaged 25 points in the paint per game. 22 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, two points shy of their season-high versus Northern Iowa on December 21.
HOT LIKE FIRE, COOL LIKE WATER
Sophomore Alexis Lindstrom has shot with confidence from behind the three-point line over the last 11 games for the Huskies as Lindstrom has hit .482 of her shots, draining 27-of-56 shots attempted. Versus Toledo Lindstrom was 4-of-5 from behind the line, including one in overtime, 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.
On February 22 versus Central Michigan, Northern Illinois converted 31 field goals against the Chippewas -- a brand new season-high for NIU. The Huskies also set a new high for field goals in a half, accounting for 19 in the second period against the Chips en route to a 44-point period.
THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Heading into the game against Toledo on February 27, Northern Illinois had eight wins on the season. In everyone of those victories, the Huskies had outrebounded their opponents, carrying an 8-5 record on the season at thet time when accomplishing the feat. For the first time all season, NIU earned victory over an opponent when it fell below its opponents mark in boards as the Rockets crashed 41 boards, compared to Northern Illinois’ 35. However, the Huskies did outrebound UT on the defensive glass, 30-27.
40-POINTS TO FREEDOM
On February 22 against CMU, the Huskies accounted for 44 points in the second half of the game, the eighth time NIU has scored 40-or-more points in a half. While it’s not always the route to victory for Northern Illinois, it has proven to show more success for the Huskies as they are 5-3 when scoring 40-or-more points in the first or second half of games. NIU has scored only once scored more than 40 points in the first half of a game, doing so in the home-opener versus Mississippi Valley State on November 12, when NIU defeated the Devillettes, 79-60. The Huskies only losses when accomplishing the feat have been to MAC foes Akron, Central Michigan and Toledo.
In the second half of the Huskies Mid-American Conference games, Amanda Corral has been NIU’s go to player as she is averaging 7.7 points in the period and shooting .454 from the field at a rate of 48-for-104. Collectively, Northern Illinois has shot .425 during the second half in their last 17 games.
FIVE TIMES THE FUN... TWO TIMES
NIU had five players reach double-figures against Central Michigan on February 22, marking the second time this season that Northern Illinois had accomplished the feat, last doing so against Ohio in the MAC-opener on January 4. It was the first time since 2006-07 that Northern Illinois had two games with five scorers in double-digits as the Huskies did so January 1, 2007 versus Cincinnati and again on January 17, 2007 at Bradley.
Versus the Chippewas February 22, three starters and two NIU bench players reached the plateau, while four starters and one bench player reached the mark against the Bobcats in the conference-opener. Jazmine Harris and Ashley Sneed led the Huskie bench with 14 and 12 points, respectively, while Amanda Corral paced the lineup with 23 points. Natecia Augusta and Jenna Thorp each added 12 points.
A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME?
As discussed in the previous note, the last time Northern Illinois had five scorers reach double figures in two games prior to this season was in 2006-07. That season, the Huskies made a run in the Mid-American Conference Tournament as they reached the tournament semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio before falling to Ball State, 83-72. Fast forwarding to 2014, the Huskies are within reach of hosting a first round contest in the Mid-American Conference Tournament as they currently sit in ninth place in the MAC. The Nos. 5-8 teams in the conference host the first round games of the MAC Tournament while the top-four seeds earn a first round bye in the tournament, automatically starting their postseason in Cleveland.
CORRAL ENTERS 1,000 POINT CLUB
Entering Northern Illinois’ game against Central Michigan on February 22, junior Amanda Corral only needed four points to reach the 1,000-point mark in her decorated three year career in DeKalb. 3:25 into the Huskies contest versus CMU, the guard scored her 1,000th point as she hit a jump shot inside the paint to reach 1,000 career points. She eventually ended with 23 points, surpassing the 20-point mark for the sixth time this season. Corral became the 26th member of the 1,000-point club at Northern Illinois and the first since Marke Freeman (2008-11) on January 8, 2011 versus Central Michigan to reach the career milestone.
THE CONFIDENCE BUILDER
In the second half at Akron, Northern Illinois had its best shooting half in a game, .586, since the Mid-American Conference opener versus Ohio on January 4 when NIU was .591 in the second half. The Huskies were 17-of-28 from the field in the second stanza, the most field goals made since NIU made 18 in the second half at Toledo on January 9.
THE FRESHMAN’S ASSIST FRENZY
Freshman Ally Lehman has been on a terror as the Huskies second point guard since the start of Mid-American Conference play as she had 48 helpers through 18 games, an average of 2.7 per game. Team assist leader, Danny Pulliam, who has accounted for 88 assists in 29 games, recorded 52 helpers in 18 MAC games. Lehman owns the top assist to turnover ratio in conference games among MAC freshman (1.35), as well as the most assists amongst MAC freshman. Her 69 assists this season is the most by a Northern Illinois freshman since Stephanie Raymond in 2003-04. Raymond (2003-07) would go on to become the 20th overall pick by the Chicago Sky in the 2007 WNBA Draft, playing one season with the Sky. Raymond finished her freshman year with 78 helpers in 27 games, an average of 2.9 assists per game. Lehman is currently on pace to finish the season with 72 assists.
FRESHMEN PLAYING BIG
Freshmen Jazmine Harris and Ally Lehman have been big contributors for the Huskies all season long. While they have taken their licks and suffered growing pains at times, they have combined for 12.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Lehman has secured a double-double this season and recently set a new career-high in scoring with 16 points versus Western Michigan. Harris has scored 10-or-more points seven times -- including three of the last five games. Harris and Lehman are fourth and fifth on the team in scoring, respectively, and Lehman is second on the team in assists with 2.3 per game.
THE HUSKIES GOT HANDLES
Northern Illinois has been amongst the top-50 in the NCAA for most of the season in fewest turnovers per game. Currently, the Huskies are No. 43 in the country and No. 2 in the Mid-American Conference in turnovers per game at 13.6 per game. The Huskies are averaging just over 59 field goal attempts per game and by adding 13, the number the turnovers, NIU is averaging 72 possessions a game. Putting that into context, Northern Illinois is only committing a turnover every 5.6 possessions.
AN EXPERIENCED EYE
Redshirt junior Danny Pulliam has an eye for breaking down Mid-American Conference defenses in the second half from her point guard position. The Huskies are shooting .429 in the second stanza and Pulliam can be partially credited for the success as she is averaging 1.9 assists during the second half of games.
STAT OF NOTE
This season, the Huskies have held three opponents scoreless from behind the three-point line. NIU has held two MAC opponents, Ohio and Kent State, without a three-point field goal and had its best performance at Illinois State on December 5, holding the Redbirds 0-for-11. Northern Illinois is second in the Mid-American Conference in three-point field goal defense in 2013-14, only allowing its foes to shoot .290 through 25 games.
SHARING THE DOUBLE-DOUBLE LOAD
NIU has had three players -- Natecia Augusta, Ally Lehman and Jenna Thorp -- record double-doubles this season. The last time three-or-more Huskie players recorded doubles in a season was in 2010-11, when Kim Davis, Ebony Ellis and Marke Freeman combined for 17 double-doubles. The Huskies have currently combined for seven double-doubles this season, with Augusta pacing Northern Illinois with four.
WHERE THEY RANK
Natecia Augusta, Amanda Corral and Danny Pulliam are ranked in the top-250 in the NCAA in their own respective statistical categories. Corral is 194th in the country in field goal percentage, an impressive feat for a guard, with a clip of .431. Pulliam is 163rd in assist/turnover ratio at 1.47.
CAP AND GOWN
After finishing her last final December 10, redshirt junior Danny Pulliam completed her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Northern Illinois University in family and individual development. Pulliam walked across the stage December 15 at the NIU Convocation Center and started graduate school January 13 to begin working on a Master’s degree in Sports Management at Northern Illinois.
SOME PERSPECTIVE ON PULLIAM
Through 29 games, Danny Pulliam has 88 assists, an average of 3.0 per game. The previous two seasons, Pulliam only made a total of 12 appearances and combined for 24 assists, averaging 2.0 per game. As a freshman in 2010-11, the Indianapolis, Ind. native played in 30 games and registered 61 dimes (2.1 APG).
Junior Amanda Corral has been the Huskies most-consistent scorer since her arrival in 2011-12 at Northern Illinois University. In 89 career games played, Corral has reached double-digits in scoring 60 times. The Hobart, Ind. native has averaged 12.1 points in her NIU career, ranking her 17th all-time in program history.
A NUGGET ON NINEVEH, INDIANA
Did you know that the school used in the movie “Hoosiers” was located in Nineveh, Ind., the hometown of NIU freshman guard Ally Lehman? According to IMDB.com, the exterior of the ficticious Hickory High School was actually Nineveh Elementary School.
BACK IN HER COMFORT ZONE
After spending time the last two seasons at point guard, junior Amanda Corral is back at her natural position of shooting guard. Injuries at various points over the last two seasons forced Corral to run the point. Despite being out of position, she averaged 12.7 points per game and 2.1 assists per game in 2012-13.
MEET Alex Dumoulin
Junior transfer Alex Dumoulin is used to being a member of a team as she is one of 10 children in her family, six girls and four boys. Dumoulin grew up playing basketball with her siblings and other children that worked on the family farm in Hampshire, Ill. The forward was an all-american at Elgin Community College and grew up playing on the same team with her older sister, Cassie, who also played basketball at Elgin and was an all-american. She went on to play at Illinois.