FINAL SCORE: NORTHERN ILLINOIS 61, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 43
IOWA CITY, IA- Sophomore Stephanie Raymond poured in 20 points
on her way to all-tournament honors while leading the Northern Illinois
University women's basketball team to a 61-43 win over Southern
Illinois University in the consolation game of the KCRG-TV 9 Hawkeye
Challenge in Iowa City Saturday (Nov. 20).
Raymond shot 7-of-12 from the floor including 4-of-6 from three-point
range to help the Huskies even their overall record at 1-1 for the
season. SIU falls to 0-2 on the year despite 12 points from Daphney
The Huskies came storming out of the gates, scoring the first 12
points of the night. A bucket from Kristin Wiener got NIU
rolling before three-pointers from Raymond and classmate Mary
Basic preceded an old-fashioned three-point play from Raymond
to give the Huskies a lead they would never relinquish.
"One of our focuses this year is to win the first four minutes
of each half," Huskie head coach Carol Hammerle noted.
"We did a good job coming out with intensity, getting the momentum
in our favor, and making (SIU) pick up its game."
After Southern Illinois put a small run of their own together to
close the gap down to 18-12 later in the first half, back-to-back
Raymond trifectas spurred another nine-point NIU burst that pushed
the lead to 27-12. SIU got itself to the free throw line, connecting
on seven of eight charity shots over the final 3:08 to stay close,
but the Huskies still managed to maintain a 30-21 halftime advantage.
That was as close as the Salukis would get the rest of the way,
however, as NIU exploded for a 17-2 run to start the second half.
SIU had just one basket in the first 9:09 of the second stanza and
it cut the Huskie advantage to 45-23. Basic returned the favor with
a jumper of her own before Tara Michels put the proverbial
dagger in with back-to-back three-pointers to inflate the Northern
Illinois lead to its largest point of the night at 55-28.
Raymond did a little bit of everything for the Huskies adding five
rebounds and seven steals to her 20-point effort. For the weekend,
the second-year point guard averaged 21.5 points, 6.5 rebounds,
and 5.0 steals per game.
"Stephanie had a tremendous tournament," Hammerle added.
"We knew when we recruited her that she had a chance to be
an outstanding player, and she is living up to the expectations."
As a team, Northern Illinois shot 39.3 percent from the floor including
a crisp 44.4 percent mark in the second half. Defense was the key
as the Huskies forced Southern Illinois into 22 turnovers that resulted
in 22 points while committing just 16 themselves. NIU's Jamie
Wilson chipped in with four points and nine rebounds in the
Northern Illinois looks to keep that kind of defensive pressure
up as the Huskies continue a four-game road trip to open the 2004-05
season. NIU heads back to the Hawkeye State Friday (Nov. 26) to
take on the University of Northern Iowa. Tip-off in Cedar Falls
is slated for 7:05 p.m. (CST).