NIU Hosts Western Illinois Wednesday in Home Opener



Nov. 15, 2011

Northern Illinois Huskies (0-1, 0-0 MAC) vs. Western Illinois Leathernecks (1-1, 0-0 Summit)

NIU vs. WIU Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tipoff: 7 PM CT
Location: NIU Convocation Center | DeKalb, Ill.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM DeKalb, Andy Garcia and Ethel Gregory on the call
Live Stats: GameTracker via

The Match-Up
Northern Illinois begins its home schedule of its 55th season with its 41st game against the Western Illinois Leathernecks.

Opening the Home Season
The Huskies hold a 33-21 record all-time in their first home game of a season and have won five of the last six openers, including last season's 68-64 win over Chicago State on Nov. 27, 2010, to give Kathi Bennett her 300th career win.

Openers at the NIU Convocation Center
NIU is 7-2 in home openers at the NIU Convocation Center since the arena was opened in the 2002-03 campaign.

A Look at Western Illinois
The Leathernecks finished last season with an 8-21 mark, 6-12 in Summit League play. Under first-year Head Coach J.D. Gravina, WIU is off to a 1-1 start. The Leathernecks began the season with an 87-65 win at home over Hannibal-LaGrange and then fell at Vanderbilt Monday 95-51.

Last Time Versus Western Illinois
The two teams last met in Macomb Nov. 16, 2010, and the Huskies came out on top 73-65. In that contest, NIU held advantages in field goal percentage (52.0-36.4) and points in the paint (36-22). Marke Freeman led the Huskies with 26 points and knocked down two late free throws to seal the win.

Sneed Indeed
With their top scorer from a year ago (Marke Freeman) moving on due to graduation, the Huskies saw Ashley Sneed step up in the first game by scoring a career-high 12 points at Loyola Nov. 13. Her previous high was eight points against Illinois Chicago last Nov. 30.

Percent of Production Returning
The Huskies return seven players from last year, including three starters in Kim Davis, Danny Pulliam, and Courtney Shelton, and welcome seven newcomers. In terms of production, NIU returns 64 percent of its minutes, 49 percent of its points, 45 percent of its rebounds, 71 percent of its assists, 44 percent of its blocks, and 53 percent of its steals.

Bennett's Year 2 Success
In Year 2 of each of her three prior head coaching stops throughout her career, Bennett has posted a combined win-loss total of 44-38. Her Year 2 win total has been an increase from Year 1 in two of the three stops. Indiana was the only place she did not have an increase, as she led the Hoosiers to 17 wins after totaling 20 in her first season in Bloomington.

Familiar Foes
Throughout her career, Bennett has faced all 23 of NIU's 2011-12 opponents and holds a 43-38 record against them.

Bennett Wins in Land of Lincoln
During her career, Bennett has faced an opponent from the state of Illinois on 49 occasions and has a 28-21 record.

NIU Picked to Finish 4th in MAC West
The Mid-American Conference coaches and select media chose the Huskies to finish fourth in the West Division this year in the MAC Preseason Poll.

Huskies Ink Three on Signing Day
On signing day on Nov. 9, NIU received National Letters of Intent from forward McKenzie Hoelmenn (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North), guard Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove), and forward Nichole Wittman (Hutchinson, Minn./Hutchinson), Hoelmenn is Max Preps' No. 3 player from Minnesota and No. 87 player in the nation. Max Preps ranks Wittman and Lindstrom No. 41 and No. 133 in their respective states.

Graduating Huskies
For the fourth straight year, NIU's Graduation Success Rate (GSR) topped the 80 percent mark. With an 82 percent GSR, the Huskies sit two points above the four-class national average. The women's basketball team is one of four NIU programs to post a perfect 100 percent GSR as every freshman and transfer student-athlete who entered NIU between 2001-04 graduated.

On Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, NIU's 1 PM CT contest at Eastern Michigan will be televised by the Mid-American Conference's regional cable partner SportsTime Ohio. The game will be NIU's only scheduled regular season TV appearance.

On the Air
Every NIU basketball game of the 2011-12 season can be heard on the Northern Illinois Sports Network, Presented by IMG. Women's games home and away can be heard on 1360-AM WLBK and Huskie All-Access at Home games can also be watched live through Huskie All-Access.

Up Next for NIU
The Huskies return to the NIU Convocation Center Sunday, Nov. 20, to host Temple at 3:30 PM CT. The game follows NIU men's basketball's contest against Eastern Illinois at 1 PM.




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