Dec. 30, 2011
Northern Illinois Huskies (6-5, 0-0 Mid-American) at No. 19/21 DePaul (12-2, 1-0 Big East)
Date: Saturday, December 31, 2011
Tipoff: 2:00 PM CT
Location: McGrath-Phillips Arena | Chicago, Ill.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM DeKalb - Andy Garcia on the call
Live Stats: DePaulBlueDemons.com
Northern Illinois plays its sixth road game of the year with its 40th all-time meeting with DePaul.
A Look at DePaul
DePaul enters the game ranked No. 19 by the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and No. 21 by the Associated Press Poll. The Blue Demons have been as high as No. 18 in both polls. DePaul has gone eight days without playing a game but has won four in a row and has only two losses on the season. The first loss came to San Diego State (82-74) in Hawai’i and the second came to Tennessee at Madison Square Garden in New York. With an overall 12-2 record, DePaul is 7-0 at home.
Last Time Versus DePaul
The two teams last met in Chicago last year on Dec. 11, and the Blue Demons came out on top 72-52. Ranked No. 24 at the time, DePaul held significant edges in shooting (47.1%-36.2%), rebounds (35-29), and points off turnovers (28-13). Sam Quigley led the Blue Demons with 13 points, while Kim Davis led NIU with a career-best 18 points.
Danny Pulliam and Ashley Sneed both underwent successful knee surgeries on Dec. 8. Pulliam will be out for the season with a torn meniscus and microfracture surgery in her right knee. Sneed will be out for 4-6 weeks with a torn meniscus in her left knee.
Three scorers reached double-figures on Thursday at Eastern Illinois, which marked the fourth time this season that NIU has had three or more players score 10-plus points. Courtney Shelton led the way with a season-high 22. Satavia Taylor and Claire Jakubicek each added 11.
NIU has won back-to-back games three different times this season already. Last year, NIU accomplished the feat three times all year.
In NIU’s 47-43 win over Indiana State, Kim Davis and Amanda Corral combined for 31 of NIU’s 47 points, including all nine points of NIU’s 9-0 run to open the game. The two also scored the last 16 points for NIU to close out the win. Davis’ 16 were a season high, while Corral notched 15 for the second straight game.
Foes’ Friendly Rims
NIU has found it easier to score on the road than at home as the Huskies average 59.8 points per game on the road and 56.8 at home. Shooting-wise, the Huskies have shot better away from home in free throw (.689-.678), three-point (.353-.327) and overall field goal attempts (.417-.357).
Home Court Advantage
The Huskies are 4-2 at home this year and are holding opponents to just 54.7 points per game, as opposed to the 65.0 points per game NIU allows on the road. NIU has also held opponents to a .322 field goal percentage at home, compared to a .406 percentage on the road.
Courting the Three-Point Line
As of Dec. 27, the Huskies rank third in the MAC in three-point field goal percentage at .337, led by Courtney Shelton’s league-second-best .429 percentage. Helping her percentage was a season-best 5-for-7 performance at Indiana Dec. 17. Her 15 threes made are good for seventh in the league.
As of Dec. 27, NIU ranks first in the MAC and 98th in the NCAA in opponent field goal percentage (.360). The Huskies are 6-3 when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting and are 4-2 when outshooting their foes. The Huskies also rank third in the MAC in scoring defense (58.1 PPG).
With rebounding margin of +6.5, NIU ranks second in the MAC and 45th in the NCAA, as of Dec. 27. The Huskies have outrebounded their opponents nine times this year and are 6-3 when doing so.
The Right Touch
As of Dec. 27, freshman Claire Jakubicek ranks 13th in the MAC in field goal percentage (.451). Her 21-point, 8-rebound, 5-assist performance at Chicago State was the first 20-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist game since Marke Freeman tallied 24 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds on Feb. 20, 2010, against Toledo.
An indication of a deep team, the Huskie bench has been outstanding through the early part of this season. NIU owns a 240-105 edge in points off the bench over its opponents. The only two games NIU’s bench has not outscored its opponent’s bench is the Illinois Chicago (16-8) and Eastern Illinois (18-11) games.
Double-Double on the Marke
Amanda Corral’s 16-point, 10-rebound double-double against Temple was the first by an NIU guard since last year’s leading scorer Marke Freeman poured in 23 points and 17 boards in a 56-48 win at Ohio on Jan. 1, 2011.
Corral repeated the feat at Indiana Dec. 17 with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Corraling MAC West Player of the Week
In just her first seven days of collegiate action, freshman Amanda Corral has already caught the MAC’s attention, garnering MAC West Player of the Week on Nov. 21st. Corral led NIU to a 2-0 record by averaging 13.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
Percent of Production Returning
The Huskies return seven players from last year, including three starters in Kim Davis, Danny Pulliam, and Courtney Shelton, and welcome seven newcomers. In terms of production, NIU returns 64 percent of its minutes, 49 percent of its points, 45 percent of its rebounds, 71 percent of its assists, 44 percent of its blocks, and 53 percent of its steals.
Bennett’s Year 2 Success
In Year 2 of each of her three prior head coaching stops throughout her career, Bennett has posted a combined win-loss total of 44-38. Her Year 2 win total has been an increase from Year 1 in two of the three stops. Indiana was the only place she did not have an increase, as she led the Hoosiers to 17 wins after totaling 20 in her first season in Bloomington.
Throughout her career, Bennett has faced all 23 of NIU’s 2011-12 opponents and holds a 49-42 record against them.
NIU Picked to Finish 4th in MAC West
The Mid-American Conference coaches and select media chose the Huskies to finish fourth in the West Division this year in the MAC Preseason Poll.
Huskies Ink Three on Signing Day
On signing day on Nov. 9, NIU received National Letters of Intent from forward McKenzie Hoelmenn (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North), guard Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove), and forward Nichole Wittman (Hutchinson, Minn./Hutchinson), Hoelmenn is Max Preps’ No. 3 player from Minnesota and No. 87 player in the nation. Max Preps ranks Wittman and Lindstrom No. 41 and No. 133 in their respective states.
For the fourth straight year, NIU’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) topped the 80 percent mark. With an 82 percent GSR, the Huskies sit two points above the four-class national average. The women’s basketball team is one of four NIU programs to post a perfect 100 percent GSR as every freshman and transfer student-athlete who entered NIU between 2001-04 graduated.
NIU on TV
On Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, NIU’s 1 PM CT contest at Eastern Michigan will be televised by the Mid-American Conference’s regional cable partner SportsTime Ohio. The game will be NIU’s only scheduled regular season TV appearance.
On the Air
Every NIU basketball game of the 2011-12 season can be heard on the Northern Illinois Sports Network, Presented by IMG. Women’s games home and away can be heard on 1360-AM WLBK and Huskie All-Access at NIUHuskies.com. Home games can also be watched live through Huskie All-Access.
Up Next for NIU
The Huskies open up Mid-American Conference play with a home game against Central Michigan on Jan. 5 at 7 PM CT.