Davis jumper lifts women's basketball past Wisconsin, 49-47



November 22, 2002


Box Score

DeKALB, IL---Northern Illinois University officially opened a new era Friday (Nov. 22), with the Huskie women's basketball team playing its first game in the new Convocation Center. Monique Davis (Columbus, OH / Marion-Franklin) wasted little time in providing the first lasting memory.

The junior guard hit a fall-away nine-footer with 2.3 seconds left as
NIU defeated 2002 NCAA tournament entry University of Wisconsin, 49-47, in the season-opener for both teams. The Badgers used a 14-2 run to take the lead in the final minute before the Huskies scored the last four points of the night.

"I was looking to go to the hoop and draw a foul," Davis said of her winning shot. "Then they stepped up and I had to get the shot off, and fortunately it went in."

Jennifer Youngblood (Rock Island) led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed a game-best nine rebounds for the victors. Kim Boeding (Fort Madison, IA) chipped in with 11 points for Northern Illinois while Leah Hefte's 11 points paced the Badgers while Kristi Seeger added ten.

NIU built a 43-34 advantage on two Kristan Knake (Marengo) free throws with 7:03 remaining, but Wisconsin scored nine consecutive points while holding the hosts scoreless for more than four minutes. Hefte hit a three-pointer to cut the margin to 43-41 at the 5:36 mark, then canned a running six-footer to even the score with 3:26 left as UW pulled even for the first time since 2-2.

Lindsay Secrest (Bloomfield, IN) found Youngblood open for a lay-up, but Lello Gebisa answered with a pair of free throws with 1:33 on the clock. Following a Huskie turnover, Seeger canned two more free throws at the 46-second mark to give UW its first and only lead of the night.

Boeding matched that run at the line by hitting a pair with 26 seconds left and a Youngblood steal gave the Huskies a final shot. Davis drove past a Badger defender for the running bank shot. A desperation shot at the buzzer fell short, lifting the crowd of 3,079 to its feet.

"I'm especially proud of this team," NIU coach Carol Hammerle said. "I felt the key to this game was keeping Wisconsin out of the paint. Their strength is their inside game, and my players did an incredible job of shutting down their inside game. I'm pleased with our defensive effort."

Northern Illinois shot just 24 percent (seven-of-29) in the second half and 32.7 percent (18-of-55) for the game but limited UW to 25.9 percent (14-of-54) accuracy from the floor. Stephanie Rich missed all 12 of her tries from the field while enduring pressure from Knake and Davis.

The Badgers started three players at six-foot-three or taller while Northern Illinois had just one starter---Kim Boeding (Fort Madison, IA)---at six-foot. The visitors out-rebounded NIU 45-38 but could not take advantage of their opportunities, owning just a 16-13 edge in second-chance points.

"This was our first game and we wanted to make a statement," Hammerle said. "This is a big win for the program and a great way to open the Convocation Center. They are a Big Ten team. I have a lot of respect for (Wisconsin coach) Jane Albright and everything she has accomplished, both here and at Wisconsin."

Albright coached the Huskies to four NCAA tournaments during her (1984-94) tenure at Northern Illinois. She took the UW job after the 1993-94 campaign and is still the program's winningest coach with a 188-110 mark in DeKalb.

Northern Illinois led throughout the contest, opening a 29-20 advantage with 1:17 left in the first half on Youngblood's three-point play and jumper on consecutive possessions. Youngblood tallied 14 of her points in the first 20 minutes and anchored a defensive effort which limited the Badgers to seven field goals and 23 percent shooting to claim a 29-22 advantage at the break.

Northern Illinois faces its second consecutive NCAA tournament team Monday (Nov. 25) when the Huskies visit Arizona State University. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MST) at Tempe's Wells Fargo Arena.

-30- -- Copy by Robert Hester



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