Huskies Host Western Illinois Tuesday

GO HUSKIES Kylie York is 17 three pointers short of tying the NIU record for career threes made.
GO HUSKIES
Kylie York is 17 three pointers short of tying the NIU record for career threes made.
GO HUSKIES

Nov. 16, 2009

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CARRY IT FORWARD
The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team will look to carry the momentum of a 13-point win over Bradley into a midweek match-up with Western Illinois, when the Huskies host the Leathernecks Tuesday at 7 p.m.

With a win, the Huskies would move to 2-0 for the first time of head coach Carol Owens’ tenure. The last time NIU opened a season with consecutive victories was 2003-04, when the team started off with three straight wins.

THE SERIES

The Huskies own a 23-15 advantage over Western Illinois since the series began Jan. 27, 1968. That day, the Huskies won both games of a double-header. More recent history has also fallen into the Northern Illinois column. The Huskies have won the last three match-ups, taking the game in 2006 by 17, escaping with a one-point win in 2007, and cruising to a 30-point blowout last season.

LAST TIME AGAINST WIU

In the 2008-09 season-opener against Western Illinois, the Huskies fell behind 11-10 early in the contest, but rattled off a 19-2 run to take a 29-13 lead and never looked back in a 70-48 win.

Sparked by the defense, NIU caused 12 WIU (1-1) turnovers in the first half and capitalized, scoring 18 points off WIU miscues. NIU forced 25 Western turnovers for the game and scored 25 points off them.

The three-point shooting from Kylie York and Jessie Wilcox also keyed the Huskie run. Wilcox came off the bench and went off, shooting 4-7 from three-point territory in the first half, while York went 2-5 from beyond the arc in the half. Both finished in double figures with York scoring 11 points and Wilcox leading the Huskies with a game-high 16 points, 14 coming in the first half.

ON THE LEATHERNECKS
Western Illinois struggled on the road against No. 23 Purdue, mustering just 37 points in a 33-point loss. The Leathernecks jumped out to 6-2 lead over the first four minutes, but were outclassed by the Boilermakers, who countered with a 15-2 run and never looked back. Erica Lewis, a junior transfer to WIU, scored 12 points in her Leatherneck debut.

Western, which is coming off a 9-21 season, returns only one of their top-four scorers from a year ago. Senior guard Jordon O’Brien averaged 9.8 points and 2.0 assists per game, and scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting against the Boilermakers.

ON THE AIR

Every NIU basketball game of the 2009-10 season can be head on the Northern Illinois ISP Sports Radio Network. Women’s games can be heard on 1360-AM WLBK and Huskie All-Access at www.niuhuskies.com. Tonight’s game will be featured on tape delay on WLBK due to a conflict with the NIU men’s team.

WHO'S AFRAID OF FRIDAY THE 13TH?
Certainly not the Huskies, who scored 86 points in a 13-point win over Bradley, Friday, Nov. 13. Three players tallied career scoring highs against the Braves. Marke Freeman poured in 21 on 7-of-17 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 scoring from the free throw line. Ebony Ellis totaled 22 points. Courtney Shelton added a career-best seven.

ONE, TWO, SKIP A FEW, 99...

Junior point guard Marke Freeman passed the 100-assist milestone for her career in the Bradley game. The junior totaled 99 dimes in her first year, and three this season for 102 total career assists.

UNO, DOS, TREYS

Kylie York, the lone senior for the Huskies, is poised to become the top three-point shooter in school history. York has totaled 204 career treys, just 17 short of school record holder Denise Dove, who hit 221 from 1987-91. York holds the second and third slot for threes in a season. She hit 77 at a sophomore, and knocked down 76 last season.


2x20
With Marke Freeman scoring a career-high 21, and Ebony Ellis tallying a career-high 22 points, two Huskie players scored 20 or more points for the first time since Feb. 3, 2007. That day, three Huskies put up at least 20, as Jessie Wilcox scored 24, Stephanie Raymond tallied 23 and Kristin Wiener totaled 21 in an 82-70 win over Miami (OH) in DeKalb.

ILLINOIS ON MY MIND
Western Illinois is the second of eight teams from Illinois that the Huskies will face this season. The total is the most in-state foes since 2006-07, when NIU also faced eight Prairie State rivals, beating six. Northern Illinois is currently 1-0 against Illinois teams, with a win over Bradley.

NIU VERSUS THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Nov. 10    Lewis (exh.)    W, 85-66
Nov. 13    Bradley    W, 86-73

ALL MAC, COMING BACK

Northern Illinois returns two players who garnered All MAC recognition last season. Forward Ebony Ellis made her way on to the All MAC Honorable Mention Team after averaging 8.8 rebounds and 9.5 points per game. Ellis is one of only three players in the MAC to return this season after averaging at least nine points and eight boards per game.

SIXTH PLAYER NOW FIRST FIVE

MAC Sixth Player of the Year Marke Freeman comes back for her second season with the Huskies. After starting the first 10 games of last season, Freeman moved into the sixth-player role to provide a spark off the bench. The move proved to be coaching genius, as Freeman averaged 9.6 points per game, while dishing out 3.3 assists per contest. Freeman is now set as the Huskies’ starting point guard.

20 YEARS GOES BY SO FAST

The 2009-10 season marks the 20th anniversary of Northern Illinois’ first NCAA Tournament appearance. The 1989-90 team was led by none other than current Huskie head coach Carol Owens, who averaged 21.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game that year. The Huskies finished the season 25-6, the best record in Northern Illinois history. Included in the win total was a 92-70 trouncing of Western Illinois, Jan. 27, 1990.

OFFENSIVE ENCORE
The Huskies return four of their top five scorers from 2008-09. Marke Freeman (9.6 ppg), Ebony Ellis (9.5 ppg), Kylie York (9.2 ppg) and Mauvolyene Adams (7.3 ppg) all come back to provide NIU with an offensive punch.

REBOUNDING, TOO

Ebony Ellis, the second-best rebounder in the MAC last season, comes back to clean more glass. Ellis averaged 8.8 boards, including 3.9 offensive rebound per game. Against  Wagner last season, Ellis snatched 22 boards, the third-most in NIU history, and had eight double-digit rebounding performances. Mauvolyene Adams brings back her 5.3 rpg, making the NIU frontcourt one of the most dominant on the glass in the league.

FORMIDABLE FRONTCOURT
The Huskies boast the third-best rebounding duo in the MAC. Ebony Ellis and Mauvolyene Adams combined last year to pull down 14.1 rebounds per game. The only duos with better combined averages are Kaihla Szunko and Brandie Baker of Central Michigan (15.7) and Courtney Brown and Jessica Fortman of Buffalo (15.0).

EXAMING Ebony Ellis

Junior forward Ebony Ellis is one of only three returning players in the MAC to have averaged more than nine points and eight rebounds per game last season. The others are Ball State’s Kourtney Brown and Central Michigan’s Kaihla Szunko.

GOLD STANDARD

NIU Head Coach Carol Owens won her fourth gold medal as a coach with USA Basketball over the summer. Owens was head coach of the U19 World Championships team that took first place in Bangkok, Thailand. The fifth-year leader of the Huskies also won gold as the head coach of the U18 FIBA Americas championship team in 2008, and was an assistant with two other gold medal winners.