Nov. 20, 2013
NIU-Bradley Game Notes
Bradley (2-2) vs Northern Illinois (1-2)
Thursday, November 21 | 7 p.m. | NIU Convocation Center
Radio: WLBK 1360AM, 98.9 FM; NIUHuskies.com
Play-by-Play and Color Commentary: Andy Garcia & Ethel Gregory
Twitter: @NIUscores | Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
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HUSKIES COME HOME
After a Sunday matinee at Wisconsin last weekend, Northern Illinois University returns home as it hosts in-state Missouri Valley foe Bradley University. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the NIU Convocation Center.
FREE PARKING FOR ALL HOME BASKETBALL GAMES
The NIU Convocation Center will offer free parking for all basketball home games this season. Fans are asked to park in the C-2 and C-3 parking lots. For more details on other changes to gameday and to view a detailed parking map of the area, visit NIUHuskies.com.
The Director of Basketball Operations at Bradley, Kristin Wiener, played four seasons with the Huskies from 2003-07. Wiener, a former All-Mid American Conference honoree, scored 1,218 during her time in DeKalb - the 15th best mark in program history.
Bradley forward Jenny Smith is the sister of Kelly Smith, whom Northern Illinois announced as one of three signees to its Class of 2014. See “Huskies Sign Three” note on page 7 for more information.
LAST TIME OUT
NIU made its second trip to Wisconsin in as many weeks as the Huskies took on the Badgers of the Big Ten. Though Northern Illinois gave up a considerable height advantage to UW, the Huskies did not back down from the challenge as their grit proved strong in the post offensively and defensively.
The NIU defense forced 15 Wisconsin turnovers in the game while the Northern Illinois offense only committed 14. The Badgers built a 15 lead in the first half but did not over extend that lead in the second half as the Huskies were only outscored 38-33. Senior Danny Pulliam scored nine of her 11 points in the second half, including five from the free throw line. Northern Illinois would fall to Wisconsin at the Kohl Center, 71-51.
SCOUTING THE BRAVES
Bradley is 2-2 this season with wins over Illinois, 98-92, and at Southeast Missouri State, 72-68. The Braves have lost their last two contests as they were edged by Stony Brook and South Florida at home, Nov. 15 and 17, respectively. While the team is averaging 78 points per contest, it also surrendering 82.5 per game.
Against the Illini, Michelle Young scored an impressive 32 points to lead the Braves. The four other starters in the game scored 10-or-more points, with only six points coming from the bench. Catie O’Leary scored 10 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in the game.
In their only road game of the season at SEMO, Bradley again produced minimally from its bench as it only scored 10 points from the bench. Young impressed again as she accounted for 20 points in the effort.
Through the first four games of the season, BU has shown plenty of power on offense as three different players average 12-or-more points this season. Young leads the group with a 22.5 point average, thanks in large part to her ability to get to the free throw line as she is 35-for-43 (.814) already this season. Kelsey Budd is averaging 15.0 points per game from her point guard position while Kelly Frings is scoring 12.0 points per contest. O’Leary is closely averaging a double-double per contest with 9.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per contest.
Thursday’s match will be the first of two-straight road contests for the Braves as they head to Kentucky Nov. 27 to take on the Wildcats. Bradley finished 14-16 last year.
COACH McMANAMAN ON THE BRAVES
“They’re a very good team at 2-2 that has lost their last two games. Bradley starts four seniors and has a role player in Michelle Young who’s really started to excel and eleveated her game. That’s one of the players we’re really going to have to stop. We’re excited to be back home. We’re hoping we can defend our home court against Bradley. We certainly learned a lot about ourselves from the Wisconsin game, especially in the second half with some of the good things that we did. We’re working to build off of that success.”
Assistant Coach Kevin McManaman is in his second season with the Northern Illinois women’s basketball program, coming from Milwaukee in fall 2012. He is the recruiting coordinator for the Huskies.
While also an eclectic offshoot of the popular style of music, freshman Jazmine Harris seemed to put a few pieces of the college game puzzle together last Sunday afternoon at the Kohl Center in her 12 minutes of play versus Wisconsin. In her home state no less, the frosh finished 4-for-8 from the field to acount for eight points with two rebounds and a steal playing quick spell minutes during the first and second half.
A STEADY RIVALRY
The Huskies and the Braves will meet for the 15th team on Thursday to break a deadlocked series that is tied 7-7 apiece. Though the team’s first met in 1979, the team only played each other seven times between 1979 and 2003. NIU and BU renewed the rivalry on a steady basis in 2006 as the teams have played each other every season since then. The Huskies are 3-4 in that time span with three-straight losses.
SHAKING DUST OFF
Due to a series of injuries over the last two seasons, redshirt junior Danny Pulliam has played in 45 games as a Huskie, 30 of which came as freshman. In only her 13th career appearance, Pulliam scored in double-digits for the first time, a career-high 15 points versus Illinois State. 32 games, three seasons, one meniscus tear and a microfracture surgery later, Pulliam reached double figures again as she dropped 11 points at Wisconsin last Sunday, nine of which came in the second half.
BECOMING A VALUABLE PIECE
Junior Natecia Augusta has proven her value down low in Huskies lineup so far this season. After finding herself in foul trouble at Green Bay, the Phoenix accounted for 44 points in the paint. In NIU’s home-opener versus Mississippi Valley State, Augusta recorded her first career double-double as she posted 17 points and 11 rebounds. Her defensive presence at Wisconsin was irreplaceable as she was able to compete for rebounds and provide an equal target against the lanky Wisconsin defenders as she helped force 15 turnovers to the Huskies 14 against the Badgers. Augusta is averaging 9.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season and is averaging a career-high 22.0 minutes per game. At Wisconsin, the Peoria, Ill. native posted a career-best 34 minutes on the floor for the Huskies.
EARNING HER PLACE
Freshman Ally Lehman has turned a few heads with her play in her few months in DeKalb. After playing 27 minutes off the bench in the opener at Green Bay with three points, the true freshman has started the last two contests and averaged 29.5 minutes between those two games. Moreover, she has filled the box score in this games with her all around play as she’s averaged 7.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in those starts. Against Wisconsin last Sunday, she also recorded a block and a steal at the Kohl Center.
A NUGGET ON NINEVEH, INDIANA
Did you know that the school used in the movie “Hoosiers” was located in Nineveh, Ind., the hometown of NIU freshman guard Ally Lehman? According to IMDB.com, the exterior of the ficticious Hickory High School was actually Nineveh Elementary School.
LUNCH PALE CREW
The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team has put in its work in the post over the past two games as the Huskies have combined for 56 points in the paint (28.0 points per game) in that stretch. While NIU had its way in the paint against Mississippi Valley State with 36 points, Northern Illinois also went to work on Wisconsin as it accumulated 20 in the paint, only two points less than the lanky UW.
TAKING ADVANTAGE MA’AM; TAKE ADVANTAGE
Northern Illinois has taken advantage of its time at the free throw line. In their last two games, the Huskies are 26-for-30 (.867) at the line while MVSU and UW combined for a percentage of .588 at 20-for-34. Through three games this season, NIU is a combined 35-for-48 (.729) at the charity stripe, compared to the Huskies opponents mark of 34-of-56 (.607).
SNEED NAMED NIU WOMEN’S SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Senior Ashley Sneed was selected as Northern Illinois’ Women’s Scholar-Athlete of the Week Tuesday evening. In two games last week, the Harvey, Ill., native was 10-for-16 (.625) from the field and averaged 10.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and an assist per game against the Devilettes and the Badgers. Sneed owns a 3.147 GPA and is a communications major.
HUSKIES SIGN THREE FOR 2014-15
The Northern Illinois women’s basketball program signed three players to National Letters of Intent for the 2014-15 school year Tuesday as the Huskies signed three players from the state of Wisconsin. NIU added guard Georgia Breunig (Sauk Prairie, Wis./Sauk Prairie), and combo guards/forwards Renee Sladek (Merrill, Wis./Merrill) and Kelly Smith (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead). It is the fourth recruiting class for Head Coach Kathi Bennett at NIU.
“I’m very excited about all three of these players and their addition to our program,” Bennett said. “All three of these players understand the game of basketball and have a high basketball IQ, so we’re excited have them next season.”
Junior Natecia Augusta had a career night in NIU’s 2013-14 home opener against Mississippi Valley State as she scored accounted for 17 points, 11 rebounds and a steal, to record her first career double-double. She was 5-for-6 from the field to improve her season field goal percentage to .857 (7-for-8) and was also was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
A MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
Senior Alicia Johnson has been one of the Huskies top-performers at the free throw line in her four years at Northern Illinois and is 10-for-10 through two games this season. On November 8 at Green Bay, Johnson was 6-for-6 in front of the Phoenix student section. Against Mississippi Valley State last Tuesday, Johnson was 4-for-4 at the line. As a junior in 2012-13, she was 9-for-10 at the charity stripe. Dating back to her sophomore year, Johnson has made 24 of her last 25 attempts at the free throw line (.960). In her four seasons at NIU, she owns a .756 career free throw percentage.
AUGUSTA IS GOOD ON THE LINE
Junior Natecia Augusta is a perfect 9-for-9 at the free throw line this season, second on the team behind Alicia Johnson’s 10-for-10 clip. In her Northern Illinois career, Augusta owns a career free throw percentage of .786 (81-103), currently ranking her 12th all-time in the all-time annals at NIU.
The Huskies will celebrate Turkey Day on the road as it heads Southwest to “The Land of Enchantment” for the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic at New Mexico State. Northern Illinois will take on host NMSU Friday Nov. 29 at noon Central time, followed by a Saturday matinee versus Lamar, also set for noon Central.