Illinois Women's Basketball Pulls Off 67-62 Thriller For Owens'
First Official Win
DeKALB, IL -
Admitting it was a little more "interesting" than she
would have prefered, new Northern Illinois University head coach
Carol Owens was still happy and proud of her team for chalking up
her first official victory.
State University erased a 17-point deficit only to have the Huskies
pull off a 67-62 thriller in Friday night's (Nov. 18) season opener
for both teams. Thanks to a 12-2 run, Northern Illinois went from
a five-point lead midway through the first half into an eventual
39-25 halftime lead.
grew to 17 before the visiting Bison either forced turnovers or
capitalized on NIU miscues for a 20-0 surge that put the visitors
ahead 49-46 on a jumper by Katie Lorenz. A Brandee Gibbs jump shot
had NDSU up 56-53 with 7:13 remaining. However, a pair of Kacia
Gillette (Roscoe / Rockton-Hononegah) free throws followed by two
Jennifer Uptmor (Centerville, OH) baskets gave the Huskies the lead
North Dakota State's Gibbs twice made a pair of free throws to keep
the visitors in the hunt at 61-60 and again at 64-62. After NIU
reserve Whitney Lowe (Dixon) missed the second of two free throws,
the Huskie sophomore made a steal at the opposite end and Stephanie
Raymond (Rockford / Lutheran) iced the victory with a pair of free
throws at the six-second timepoint.
made it interesting," Owens joked afterward. "Most of
all I'm just happy for these kids. They've worked very hard and
deserved the win. They stepped up in the end and we got some crucial
had double figures from three players with Raymond netting 16 of
her game-high 22 in the opening half while Uptmor finished with
an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double. Kristin Wiener (Apple Valley,
MN / Academy of Holy Angels) tallied 14 and had eight boards before
fouling out with 1:21 to be played.
a little rattled, but then we really came together and worked to
get the win," Raymond said in regard to the disappearance of
NIU's 14-point halftime lead. "We didn't want to lose."
After a disappointing
opening 20 minutes, North Dakota State's second-half effort was
certainly fueled by desire.
really pleased with our second half, we made the hustle plays,"
veteran NDSU coach Amy Ruley said. "We picked up our defensive
intensity. We certainly weren't happy with the number of opportunities
and looks Raymond got in the first half. I thought Lisa (Bue) did
a nice job defensively for us.
we have to work on our rebounding. In one respect we were fortunate
to lose by five considering we got outrebounded by 19," Ruley
finished with a 47-28 advantage on the boards and that, plus the
defensive play, were two of the facets that pleased Owens the most.
a good job of boxing out and I thought our defense overall was better.
We worked a lot on our helpside defense and our rotations,"
State was led by Gibbs' 15 with Lorenz adding 13 and Kayla Dahlen
chipping in 10 more. The Bison, who were 26-1 last season, are playing
an entire Division I schedule for the first time as part of the
third year of an NCAA-mandated five-year transition from Division
II to Division I. NDSU has a Sunday visit to the University of Toledo
and will face Georgetown University the following weekend in the
first round of the Ball State University Credit Union Classic.
is back in action at the Convocation Center on Sunday at 2:05 p.m.
when the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay comes to town. The Phoenix,
who posted a 27-4 ledger last year and made their fourth straight
NCAA tourney appearance, suffered a 98-59 loss Friday night in their
season opener at Indiana State University.