DeKALB - Two teams renew an old conference rivalry when the Northern Illinois women’s basketball team hosts the UIC Flames, Tuesday, December 29 at the Convocation Center. The Huskies and UIC shared membership in the North Star Conference from 1988-92. It’s Northern Illinois’ first game at home since December 2.
NIU has faced UIC 38 times in school history. The Huskies have played only Western Michigan (40) and Western Illinois (39) more frequently. The Huskies lead the all-time series 25-13, and hold a 15-6 edge in DeKalb.
The teams last met Dec. 20, 2008, when the Huskies came away with an 85-79 overtime victory. NIU overcame a four-point halftime deficit to tie the contest and force the extra frame. In overtime, Mauvolyene Adams scored eight of her 10 points and the Huskies connected of 6-of-10 free throws to seal the win.
Kylie York scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Marke Freeman added 19 off the bench. Six players scored in double figures for the Flames. The Huskies shot 46.0 percent (29-of-63), and hit 53.3 percent (8-0f-15) on three-pointers. UIC was held to 4-of-17 shooting (23.5 percent) from downtown.
Northern Illinois is under fifth-year head coach Carol Owens, who has compiled a 60-68 record guiding the Huskies. Owens played for NIU from 1985-90, leading the Huskies to their first NCAA bid in 1989-90. Owens has also coached with Team USA, winning a total of four gold medals, including two as the head coach of the U18/U19 squad.
UIC is under the winningest coach in program history, eighth year teacher Lisa Ryckbosch. She won her 100th game as the head coach of the Flames during the 2008-09 campaign, and now stands with a record of 105-112. Ryckbosch arrived at UIC after spending 11 seasons on the coaching staff at DePaul. She previously coached at UIC as an assistant, and played at Loyola from 1980-84.
ABOUT THE FLAMES
UIC is led by senior guard Jessie Miller, who is averaging 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.4 steals per game. Miller has been in the starting line-up for all 10 games, as have backcourt mate Shameia Green and center Cassie Johnson, who are averaging 8.4 and 7.8 points per game, respectively. Swingman Jasmine Bailey is second on the team in scoring with 9.8 per contest.
The Flames are 3-7 on the year, and coming off a 62-56 win over Eastern Illinois.
ON THE AIR
Every NIU basketball game of the 2009-10 season can be head on the Northern Illinois ISP Sports Radio Network. Women’s games can be heard on 1360-AM WLBK and Huskie All-Access at www.niuhuskies.com.
A NEW CAREER LEADER
Kylie York, the lone senior for the Huskies, hit four three-pointers against Loyola to become the top three-point shooter in NIU history. York surpassed the previous NIU record of 221 career treys, held by Denise Dove since 1991, and now has 225 for her career. York holds the second and third slot for threes in a season. She hit 77 as a sophomore, knocked down 76 last season, and ranks third in the MAC with 24 makes this year.
Ebony Ellis garnered MAC West Player of the Week honors after scoring a career-high 23 points and grabbing 18 rebounds as the Huskies defeated Loyola, 75-65 in overtime. The award is her second weekly honor of the season. Ellis was named the first MAC West Player of the Week of the 2009-10 season after recording 22 points and 17 rebounds in a win over Bradley.
THREE AGAINST THE SECOND CITY
Northern Illinois tips-off the second of three straight games against opponents from within the Chicago city limits when it faces UIC. The Huskies defeated Loyola, 75-65 in overtime, Dec. 17, and travel to Chicago State for a Jan. 3 match-up.
Northern Illinois is the only school in the Mid-American Conference to feature three scorers that rank in the league’s top-15. Marke Freeman ranks sixth at 16.0 points per game, followed by Ebony Ellis in 12th at 13.2, and Mauvolyene Adams is 14th with 12.7 ppg.
ILLINOIS ON MY MIND
The Huskies played their sixth of eight games this year against in-state teams when they beat Loyola. The total is the most in-state foes since 2006-07, when NIU also faced eight Prairie State rivals, beating six. Northern Illinois is currently 3-3 against Illinois teams, with wins over Bradley, Southern Illinois and Loyola.
NIU VERSUS THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Nov. 13 vs. Bradley W, 86-73
Nov. 17 vs. Western Illinois L, 50-48
Nov. 22 vs. Southern Illinois W, 74-65
Nov. 28 vs. No. 15 DePaul L, 78-67
Dec. 4 at Illinois State L, 85-57
Dec. 17 at Loyola W, 75-65 (OT)
Dec. 29 vs. UIC 7 p.m.
Jan. 3 at Chicago State 2 p.m.
Marke Freeman dished out a season-best six assists against Loyola, demonstrating that her play-making ability goes well beyond scoring. She leads the Huskies with 2.8 assists per game, and has totaled 127 dimes in less than two seasons at Northern Illinois.
Marke Freeman set a career-high with eight steals at No. 24 Nebraska. The junior swiped three in the first half and five in the second period. The total is tied for the fifth-most in a game in NIU history. That record is currently held by Huskie head coach Carol Owens, who totaled 11 steals against Western Illinois in 1988.
Northern Illinois is the second-best team in the Mid-American Conference at defending the three-pointer. Huskie opponents have hit just 29.2 percent (49-of-168) of their downtown tries. Only Ohio has down better defending the three, allowing just 29.0 percent (45-of-155) from behind the arc.
Not including the two freshmen, six Huskies have registered career-highs for points this season. Ebony Ellis scored a career-best 23 against Loyola, resetting a career-high of 22 established in the season-opener versus Bradley. Other Huskies with career-highs include Marke Freeman (27, vs. Northern Iowa), Mauvolyene Adams (22, vs. SIU), Sarah Rogers (8, at Milwaukee), and Tenisha Wilson (10, at Milwaukee), and Courtney Shelton (9, at IUPUI).
Junior forward Mauvolyene Adams ranks in the top-10 nationally in double-doubles with six this year. She tallied the first double-double of her career with an 18-point, 11-rebound effort against Bradley. She kept it up with double-doubles in each of the first four games this season. Her four-straight double-dips feat surpassed the three-straight double-doubles achieved by Ebony Ellis last season. She added a fifth double-double with a 12-point, 10-board performance against UNI, and another with the same stats at Loyola.
The frontcourt duo of Mauvolyene Adams and Ebony Ellis is the best rebounding pair in the MAC. Ellis ranks second in the league at 11.1 per game, and Adams sits in fourth at 9.0 per contest. Together, their 20.1 rebounds per game is nearly three per game more than the next closest duos in the MAC. Ball State’s Emily Maggert and Danielle Gratton average 17.5 and Buffalo’s Kourtney Brown and Brigdette Kendricks combine for 16.8.
MORE ON DOUBLE DIPS
The frontcourt combination of Ebony Ellis and Mauvolyene Adams has totaled nine double-doubles in 10 games this season. Adams has totaled six, while Ellis registered at least 10 and 10 in three contests. Both tallied double-doubles in the Huskies last outing against Loyola.
Not only did Northern Illinois hit a season-best seven three-pointers against then-No. 15 DePaul, but the Huskies also held the Blue Demons without a three-pointer for the entire game (0-of-14). It was the first time DePaul had been held without a three-point make in 144 games.
MOST IMPROVED HUSKIE
After playing in just 13 games her freshman season, averaging 3.5 minutes per appearance, Courtney Shelton has broken out in her sophomore season. Shelton, who earned a place in the starting line-up with her preseason play, ranks fifth on the team in minutes per game with 23.9, and has started in each of the first 10 games. She’s scored a career-high nine points twice, and ranks second on the team with a 1.25 assist/turnover ratio.
The Huskies’ two-point loss to Western Illinois was their only game decided by two points or less in 44 contests. That figure is despite having played five overtime games in which the Huskies went 4-1 during that same span.
BIG MARGINS IN OVERTIME
Since last season, NIU has gone 4-1 in overtime games. In the four wins, the Huskies have outdone their opponents by 7.25 points per game. Most recently, NIU downed Loyola 75-65 after the game was sent into an extra session tied at 61.