Davis scores 20 as women's basketball knocks off Wisconsin, 68-65




Box score

MADISON, WI---For the second year in a row, Monique Davis (Columbus, OH / Marion-Franklin) provided the difference versus Wisconsin. The 5-8 guard scored a career-best 20 points and handed out four assists Sunday (Nov. 23), lifting the Huskies to a 68-65 triumph over UW before 6,020 fans at the Kohl Center.

Davis---who hit the game-winning jumper with 2.3 seconds left in NIU's 49-47 victory against Wisconsin one year plus one day earlier---tallied five of the visitors' final seven points to hold off a Badger rally down the stretch. The Columbus, OH, native hit seven of shots from the field and added a pair of steals in 33 minutes as the Huskies improved to 2-0 and spoiled UW's season opener.

"Monique just did an unbelievable job as a floor general, taking control," Northern Illinois coach Carol Hammerle summarized. "When we needed a basket she provided that with penetration. If she wasn't scoring herself, she was kicking to Lindsay (Secrest). I'm very proud of my team's performance today."

Secrest (Bloomfield, IN) scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half as the Huskies pulled away from a 27-27 halftime deadlock and built a 49-37 advantage with 9:24 remaining. The lead remained at ten points (57-47) when Davis hit a running jumper with 6:49 left to play but the Badgers chipped away at the lead and pulled to within 63-58 on Ashley Josephson's bucket at the 2:12 mark. UW could get no closer as Davis and Secrest combined to hit five of six free throws the rest of the way. Stephanie Rich's three-pointer with 2.8 seconds left provided the final margin.

"The fans today were incredible and I was proud of the way my team handled it," Hammerle said as the Huskies played away from home for the first time this season. "Sometimes on the road the cheering gets to be difficult, but I'm very proud of the way we handled it and kept our composure."

Wisconsin---playing its first official game for new coach Lisa Stone---used a 10-0 run to take a 14-8 lead as Rich hit a pair of jumpers, including one from three-point range. Northern Illinois countered with a 15-2 flurry including four consecutive baskets from freshman center Kristin Wiener (Apple Valley, MN / Holy Angels), and a Jennifer Youngblood (Rock Island) lay-up established a 23-18 Huskie advantage with 7:57 left in the half. That was NIU's final basket of the half, however, as the visitors clawed back to finish the opening stanza in a deadlock.

'Kristin came off the bench and just did an outstanding job," Hammerle noted. "To have a freshman come in like Kristin did and perform like that was remarkable. She does it in practice, but it's tough when you come to a facility like this with all the fans cheering."

Northern Illinois opened the second half with five consecutive points as Davis connected on a driving jumper and Joi Scott (Reynoldsburg, OH) added a three-pointer for a 32-27 edge that the visitors never relinquished. NIU used red-hot shooting in the second half, hitting 56 percent (14-of-25) after the break including six-of-eight from three-point range. The Huskies finished eight-of-17 behind the arc and 24-of-53 (45.3 percent) overall.

"I couldn't throw it in the ocean in the first half because they were able to get hands in my face," said Secrest, who missed all three of her tri-light zone attempts in the first half but was four-of-four in the final 20 minutes. "Then with Monique's penetration and the post players, that opened things up and I got open looks."

Wiener finished with 11 points and four rebounds for NIU, with Youngblood adding six points and nine boards. Scott tallied seven points in 15 minutes after missing most of the first half following two early fouls.

Wisconsin managed 40 percent (22-of-55) shooting but could not take advantage of a pronounced height advantage. The Badgers' front line of 6-3 Lello Gebisa and 6-7 Ebba Gebisa combined for 11 points to augment the 6-5 Emily Ashbaugh's total against the trio of five-foot-11 Youngblood, 5-11 Secrest and 6-0 Scott. Rich, who was 0-for-12 in last year's meeting, finished with 16 points and seven assists, matching Josephson for team scoring honors while Ashbaugh added 15 plus nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

Northern Illinois looks to add to its run of early-season success Saturday (Nov. 29) when Western Illinois visits the Convocation Center for a 2:05 p.m. matinee.

-30- -- Copy by Robert Hester