Nov. 11, 2006
DeKalb, Ill. -- Led by Stephanie Raymond and Whitney Lowe, the Northern Illinois University Women's Basketball team cruised to a 97-69 victory over the Redbirds of Illinois State in the season opener Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies 97 points was NIU's highest point total in regulation since March 2, 1996 when NIU scored 117 against UW-Milwaukee.
"This is a great win for the Huskies, great for our program," said head coach Carol Owens. "The team was really excited, I was really excited. We didn't anticipate winning by such a large margin. All in all I thought the young ladies played really well. We shot the ball really well, especially from the three-point line.
"The thing I'm most proud of is how we took care of the ball. We were under 10 turnovers, which was great. I think that goes along with our experience."
Raymond led all scorers with 22 points, while Lowe added 20 to the cause. Senior Kristin Wiener also had an outstanding game, posting her first double-double of the season, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 boards.
"I'm really glad our team shot well," said Raymond. "We were shooting 4-7 from the three-point line. It was great. Kristin was doing really well on the block."
The Huskies opened the game strong, jumping out to a quick 8-0 lead and never looked back. NIU never trailed. The closest Illinois State ever got was 10-9 early in the first half. Starting out strong was one of Owens' goals for the game. The Huskies didn't disappoint.
"We talked about starting the game out fast and capitalizing on the little things in every possession," Owens said. "We can't control whether the ball goes in the basket, but we can control the little things."
One of Owens' goals heading into the season was improving the offense. In addition to Raymond, Lowe and Wiener, Jessie Wilcox also finished in double figures with 12 points.
"We had four people in double figures," she said. "That's pretty balanced for us. We had a couple people with nine points. So I think we're pretty balanced at this point."
It is the second-straight season NIU has opened the season with a win at home. The Huskies are back in action Tuesday when they play host to IUPUI at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.