Northern Illinois Women's Basketball Runs Into Nationally Rated Buzzsaw Named DePau



December 12, 2005

Northern Illinois Women's Basketball Runs Into Nationally Rated Buzzsaw Named DePaul

Chicago --- Only in Fantasy League basketball could Northern Illinois University women’s coaches Carol Owens and E. C. Hill---both Huskie All-America selections and Hall of Famers---come off the bench and helped the cause.

Visiting Northern Illinois could have utilized both former all-stars as the current Huskies ran into a proverbial buzzsaw named DePaul University and suffered an 89-46 setback to the nationally ranked Blue Demons before 2,093 spectators at the DePaul Athletic Center Monday night (December 12).

DePaul---rated No. 11 nationally in the Associated Press poll and No. 13 in the ESPN / USA Today / Women’s Basketball Coaches Association version---won for the ninth time in 10 games this season. Coach Doug Bruno’s Blue Demons captured their 18th consecutive home contest and 44th in their last 45 appearances at the DePaul Athletic Center.

“DePaul is a Top 20 rated team,” said Owens in her first meeting against the Blue Demons as a head coach. “We have to handle their pressure better and get used to the physical play. We’re certainly not taking anything away from DePaul, but we didn’t defend well. We just couldn’t get our post game going and we didn’t take advantage of the opportunites we had at the free throw line. You can’t do that against a team as good as DePaul.”

The host Blue Demons---which averaged 80.9 points-per-game on offense prior to the game---set the tone early and ran out to a 10-0 lead in the game’s first 2:16 on an opening lay-up by guard Allie Quigley, a jump shot by forward Khara Smith, two buckets by guard Jenna Rubino, and another lay-in by Quigley. DU went on an 8-0 run in the first 1:51 to open the second half and pulled into a 49-23 advantage.

Quigley topped all scorers and tied a season-high with 23 points by hitting 10-of-16 shots from the floor---including
3-of-7 from behind the three-point arc. Rubino added 16 points for DePaul followed by Khara Smith and reserve Suzanne Morrison with 10 points, respectively. “I thought Quigley had a strong game as did Rubino,” Owens said. “We didn’t match up with either one of them. We had opportunities to get the ball in the paint and we didn’t finish.”

The cold-shooting Huskies shot a season-low 27.3 percent from the field (15-of-59) and only 1-of-13 from three-point range (7.7 percent). Still, Northern Illinois fought back within 11 points at 26-15 with 7:23 left in the first half on a free throw by Jamie Wilson. The Blue Demons held a 41-23 halftime lead. In the final stanza, things only got worse as DePaul built a 45-point advantage at 78-33 on two charity tosses by Holly Medley at the 6:52 mark.

DePaul won every major team statistical category---shooting percentage (45.2 percent), three-point baskets (8-to-1), rebounding (49-to-36), assists (19-to-7)---and insured the victory with a 15-of-16 evening (93.8 percent) at the foul line. NIU also hurt itself with 22 turnovers---14 in the second half---and a 15-of-23 performance (65.2 percent) at the free throw stripe.

For the seventh straight time this season, Northern Illinois junior guard Stephanie Raymond reached double-digit scoring with 11 points, plus produced three assists and two steals in 36 minutes of play. Forward Kristin Weiner contributed nine points and four rebounds while reserve Nikita Odom added a game-best nine boards and eight points in 23 minutes for the Huskies.

The 43-point margin of defeat also represented the largest in the 34-game NIU-DU rivalry that began in 1978-79. DePaul captured the second all-time meeting against Northern Illinois by a 95-61 score on March 2, 1979 on a neutral site. This season’s Huskies were playing their first game in 11 days due to the final exam period.

NIU---now 2-5 overall---travels to Wichita State University next Monday (December 19) for a 7 p.m. tilt against head coach Jane Albright’s Shockers. Albright, of course, coached both Owens and Hill at Northern Illinois and ranks as the winningest basketball mentor in school history. DePaul---now 9-1 overall---is one of four Big East Conference units ranked in the nation’s Top 25 with Rutgers, Connecticut, and Notre Dame and hosts St. Francis (PA) on Saturday (December 17)