Huskies Back in Action at South Dakota State Tuesday

GO HUSKIES Junior Alex Dumoulin
Junior Alex Dumoulin

Dec. 15, 2013

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Game 8 - at South Dakota State (Brookings, S.D.)
Tuesday, December 17 (7 p.m.)
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Northern Illinois University (4-3) will make its first ever trip to the Mount Rushmore State on Monday as the Huskies take on South Dakota State (8-4) Tuesday evening at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.

This will be the third meeting between the two schools and it will be the first meeting in South Dakota. All-time, the Jacks own a 2-0 series lead with both of their wins occurring at the Convocation Center. In the last meeting, the Huskies lost by one point to SDSU, 59-58.

NIU took on Illinois State at Redbird Arena in Bloomington, Ill. on December 5, entering the series with five consecutive losses under its belt and winless at ISU since 2002.

The Redbirds, freshly returned from the Bahamas where they defeated Florida, 68-64, entered the game with a 1-4 record but with a potent offense and stalwart defense. After Illinois State jumped out to a 10-4 lead, Northern Illinois went on an 8-0 run to take a 12-10 lead halfway through the first period. The Huskies momentum continued as they outscored ISU, 16-7, in the final 10 minutes to lead, 28-19, at halftime.

Both NIU and the Redbirds added 17 points to their totals in the first 10 minutes of play, but the Huskies would not score a field goal for a stretch of 8:02, only converting two points at the free throw line in that time but limiting ISU to only 11 points defensively. Northern Illinois finished 16-of-26 from the line, including a 10-for-16 performance by Danny Pulliam. The junior point guard closed the game with 16 points, surpassing her career-high of 15 points at Illinois State her freshman year, while also dishing four assists with no turnovers. The Huskies would grit out a 57-52 at Redbird Arena. Each team combined for 36 points in the paint and only one three point basket, as NIU sophomore Alexis Lindstrom hit a tre with 12:25 left in the game to put the Huskies back up by 10, 41-31.

South Dakota State heads into the contest with an 8-4 record, winning four-straight games. The streak started with a 71-46 victory over New Jersey Institute of Technology and followed up with a 66-54 win at Green Bay. The streak continued as the Jackrabbits hosted No. 12 Penn State and defeated the Nittany Lions, 84-79. Most recently, SDSU defeated Central Michigan at Frost Arena, 87-82, December 15. The Jacks are 6-0 at home this season and 8-2 in their last 10.

Against the Chippewas, the Jackrabbits had four scorers reach double-figures, led by Kerri Young’s 21 points off the bench. Starters Gabby Boever (18), Mariah Clarin (11) and Steph Paluch (14) also reached double-digits. Megan Waytashek leads all scorers with 12.7 points per game, while also accounting for 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Paluch is second in scoring with 10.3 points per game. Boever is averaging 3.4 assists per game at her point guard spot while Clarin paces all rebounders with 6.7 boards per game. As a team, SDSU is shooting .412 from the field and .361 from behinf the arc. At the free throw line, the team is over 70 percent at a clip of .709.

“South Dakota State is a very good team and is very tough to beat at home. They past few years, they’ve only lost a handful of games at home so we have to go in there and play together as a team. They’re going to want to get the ball up the court, they do a really good job of getting the ball out in transition and they get out to defend the perimeter very well so we need to be strong with the ball and be ready for their intensity.”

Assistant Coach Latrell Fleming is in his first season with the Northern Illinois women’s basketball program, after a previous stint at UW-Milwaukee. Fleming also served six seasons

After finishing her last final Tuesday afternoon, redshirt junior Danny Pulliam completed her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Northern Illinois University in family and individual development. Pulliam walked across the stage Sunday, December 15 at the NIU Convocation Center and is looking to start graduate school this January to begin working on a Master’s degree at Northern Illinois.

Redshirt junior point guard Danny Pulliam has been a tear the last four games, averaging 11.8 points, 4.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game with only two turnovers in that time. While her run of stellar form has been impressive, her play at Illinois State was a game-changer for the Huskies as she scored, dove on the floor for loose balls, created chances for NIU on offense and pressured on defense. She scored a career-high 16 points with four assists, no turnovers, two steals and two rebounds in 34 minutes on the floor. 10 of her points were from the free throw line, including two big free throws for the Huskies during their eight minute scoreless run in the last 12 minutes of the game.

It was not a good night behind the arc at Illinois State as both the Huskies and the Redbirds were a combined 1-for-14 (.071) behind the three-point line with NIU going 1-for-3 (.333). Only sophomore Alexis Lindstrom left Redbird Arena that night with a three point basket, as she hit the shot to put NIU back up by 10 points, 41-31, with 12:25 left in the game. NIU would win, 57-52.

Junior Natecia Augusta’s exploits have been well documented this season as she has recorded three double-doubles for the Huskies with new career-highs in scoring and rebounding. So far this season, the Peoria, Ill. native and Limestone High School product has scored in double figures five times in seven starts. Her impact in games has been tremendous for Northern Illinois as it is 2-1 when she records a double-double and is 4-1 when she scores in double figures.

Thanks to a high volume of fouls by the Redbirds, 26, Northern Illinois went to the free throw line 26 times in its last game December 5 at Illinois State. The Huskies also made a season-high 16 points from the line for a .615 average.

Northern Illinois has cleaned up the glass very well this season, outrebounding its foes, 289-274. When NIU wins the rebounding battle, the Huskies are 4-0 this season. The difference for Northern Illinois is its offensive rebounding is it is +13 in that departmant and +2 crashing the defensive boards.

The Huskies have been solid this season maintaing ball possession, even when teams have ran a press defense. Thus far, the Huskies have committed 12 fewer turnovers than its opponents, 98-86, through seven games this year.

The five players on the floor for Northern Illinois have had no problem sharing the ball on the floor to find high-percentage shots. The Huskies have totaled 80 assists through seven games, avergaing almost 11.5 helpers a game. Five times this season, NIU has gone over double-digit in assists, peaked with a 16 assist effort versus Lamar in the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic November 30 at New Mexico State. It was the most assists by the Huskies since a 19 assist effort at Ohio University February 6, 2013.

In their seven games this season, the Huskies are avaergaing 5.3 steals per game this season, outstealing their opponents by seven this season. NIU has outstolen its opposition five times this year and is 4-1 in those instances.

In their 50-plus years as a program, the Huskies have made theiir way to 35 states over the years. With its game at South Dakota State, Northern Illinois will play in its 36th state, having never played in either North and South Dakota. Including Tuesday’s contest, the Huskies have never played in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Georgia, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland.

Senior Ashley Sneed has been just the answer the Huskies are looking for off the bench, averaging 17.0 minutes and 6.0 points per game. While the numbers might look average, Sneed is shooting an extremely impressive .583 from the field (21-36) to lead Northern Illinois in that category. What makes the mark that much more impressive is the fact that she has made most of her baskets as a shooter, not as a slasher. In her last six appearances, she is averaging 3.5 baskets per game.

While Pulliam has found a groove scoring as of late, she never lost her ability to distribute the ball, despite missing most of the last two seasons with injury. The junior is averaging 3.1 assists per game this season and has recorded at least four assists in five games, including four-straight games.

Sophomore Alexis Lindstrom played with confidence November 30th against the Lamar, shooting a season best 5-for-8 (.625), including a 4-for-7 clip (.571) from behind the arc to account for 14 points versus Lamar. The day before against host New Mexico State, the Howards Grove, Wis. native drained two three-pointers to round her weekend average to 10.0 points per game at the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic. She was 1-for-1 at Illinois State December 5th, accounting for the only three-point basket of the game.

Of their 32 field goals at Lamar, NIU registered 16 assists, including four apiece by Danny Pulliam and Alicia Johnson. The mark tied the Huskies single game high this season for total assists, set versus Bradley Nov. 21.

The NIU Huskies will return home Saturday, December 21 for a contest with their third Missouri Valley Conference foe of the season in Northern Iowa. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.




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