Huskie Women's Basketball Falls Short in 73-67 OT Tussle With Wisconsin-Green Bay



November 20, 2005

Huskie Women's Basketball Falls Short in 73-67 OT Tussle With Wisconsin-Green Bay

DeKALB, IL - Despite a gallant comeback to force overtime, the Northern Illinois University women's basketball squad came up on the short end of a 73-67 overtime tangle with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Sunday (Nov. 20) at the NIU Convocation Center.

The Horizon League preseason favorite Phoenix, who are gunning for a fifth straight NCAA tourney this year, repeatedly capitalized on 32 turnovers by the Huskies in order to even their season ledger at 1-1. The Huskies, who were outscored 11-5 in the extra five-minute session, saw their record level off at 1-1 after Friday's season-opening 67-62 victory over North Dakota State University.

"I think Green Bay showed their NCAA experience in the second half and in the overtime," NIU coach Carol Owens said. "I'm very proud of how the team battled back and took a really good team to overtime. Statistically, we did better in every category but turnovers. I believe they got 30 points in transition off our turnovers. Obviously, that's way too many, but it's something we can and will work on."

Things were working in Northern Illinois' favor early on as the Huskies capitalized on some initial cold shooting by UWGB to claim a series of eight-point leads with the last being an 18-10 advantage midway through the opening half. However, UWGB's Phoenix went on a 12-1 run en route to an intermission edge of 32-30.

"We're glad to come away with a win," Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Kevin Borseth said. "Our defense played pretty well and we tried to apply as much pressure as we could."

Although the Huskies committed a whopping 17 turnovers in the opening half, that figure was trimmed only slightly to 15 for the final 20 minutes of regulation plus the five minutes of overtime.

"They did pressure us, but we need to be more confident with the ball," NIU's Kristin Wiener (Apple Valley, MN / Academy of Holy Angels) insisted. "That's something we simply need to take control of from our standpoint."

Wisconsin-Green Bay appeared to be comfortably in control with 5:46 to play after Nicole Soulis hit a lay-up to give the Phoenix their largest lead of nine, 56-47. However, that's when Wiener and sophomore reserve Whitney Lowe (Bushnell / Bushnell-Prairie City) helped spark a Huskie comeback. Wiener hit two sets of free throws before Stephanie Raymond (Rockford / Lutheran) nailed a jumper and Lowe followed her own-miss rebound putback with a left wing three-pointer to tie the contest at 58.

Raymond, who had a single point in the opening half, hit one of two free throws before Soulis put UWGB back on top, 60-59, by hitting a pair from the charity stripe. Raymond hit a clutch jumper in the lane for a 61-60 NIU lead with 40 seconds only to have the Phoenix's Kayla Groh drive for a go-ahead lay-up, 62-61, with 24 seconds left.

With 8.4 seconds left, Wiener went to the free throw line with Wisconsin-Green Bay using a full timeout prior to a first free throw miss and 30-second timeout before a made second attempt for a 62-all contest. The Phoenix got a lay-up by Groh to start the OT and then Groh cashed in on two free throws as Raymond fouled out with 3:01 to play. A Berglin steal and another Groh lay-up stretched it to six and that grew to eight on a Soulis jumper. Soulis and Berglin both finished with 19 while Groh added 16 for the Phoenix.

Wiener led NIU with a game-high 20 points, just missing a double-double with nine rebounds in helping NIU enjoy a 41-22 edge on the boards. Lowe came off the bench to hit a career-best 14 while Raymond finished with 11.

"We're getting there and once again there were bright spots. Whitney's 14 points and six boards off the bench was great, I thought Kristin with 20 points and nine rebounds, she played her heart out," Owens said. "I also thought Jennifer Uptmor (Centerville, OH) did a lot that doesn't show up statistically, outside of her (team-best) five assists."

After opening with two home games, the Huskies now hit the road for three contests that begin a mini-state tour. Northern Illinois journeys to Macomb on Tuesday (Nov. 22) night for a 7 p.m. contest against a Western Illinois University squad which ran its homecourt winning streak to 40 consecutive with a 96-59 blowout of Hannibal-LaGrange College. NIU visits Illinois State University on Saturday (Nov. 26) before a Nov. 29 trip to the University of Illinois. The Huskies are back in DeKalb on Dec. 2 for a home date with the University of Illinois-Chicago before visiting DePaul University to cap the in-state swing.




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