Dec. 30, 2013
Northern Illinois (4-5) vs Illinois-Chicago (9-2)
Tuesday, December 31 (1 p.m.)
DeKalb, Ill. (Convocation Center)
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Radio: NIUTube (NIUhuskies.com)
Play-by-Play: Andy Garcia, Ethel Gregory
Video: NIUTube (NIUHuskies.com)
ROUNDING OUT 2013
Tuesday marks the end of the 2013 calendar year and Northern Illinois women’s basketball is looking to close it on a high note when hosts downtown rival Illinois-Chicago. New Year’s Eve tipoff with UIC is set for 1 p.m. at the NIU Convocation Center.
THE HUSKIES AND THE FLAMES
The New Year’s Eve bash between NIU and UIC will be 43rd meeting all-time between the two schools. Northern Illinois owns a 26-16 advantage in the series and is 2-1 in the last three meetings at the Convocation Center. In the last three matchups, NIU is 0-3 but has only been outscored by the Flames by an average of four points (55-51).
LAST TIME OUT
The Huskies hosted Northern Iowa December 21 in their first home game at the NIU Convocation Center in exactly one month. NIU led for 39:46 of the regulation 40 minutes but a backdoor, baseline layup by the Panthers with 2.7 seconds left sunk Northern Illinois, 66-64.
The Huskies held a seven point advantage at halftime, 32-25, and would go on to lead by as much as 11 points in the period. While NIU shot 27-of-56 (.482) from the field, it was UNI’s 10-of-26 (.385) clip from behind three point line that aided the Panthers comeback. Northern Illinois would outscore Northern Iowa in the paint, 42-22.
Three Huskies reached double-figures in scoring with Amanda Corral pacing NIU at 18 points, 12 of which occurred in the second half. Freshman Jazmine Harris had her first career double-digit effort with 15 points, reaching the mark in 19 minutes. Redshirt junior Danny Pulliam scored 12 points, the fourth time this season she scored 10-or-more points this year.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES
Illinois-Chicago has had a terrific run of form lately as it is 9-2 this season, winning its last nine games. UIC’s last loss occurred November 10 at Northwestern, 79-63, and since then, the Flames have outscored their opponents, 72-63, in their undefeated streak. Amongst those victories was a 58-56 triumph at Wisconsin December 21 at the Kohl Center, whom the Huskies lost to on November 17. Six of UIC’s wins have occurred on the road or on neutral sites.
Rachel Story has been the Flames top-scorer, averaging 20.7 points per game in her nine appearances this season. Ruvanna Campbell and Katie Hannemann are also scoring big for UIC as they average 14.0 and 13.5 points, respectively. In her 11 starts this season, Campell is averaging a double-double per game as she is also rebounding at a clip of 10.8 per game, a big factor for the Flames +8.5 rebounding margin. From the field, Illinois-Chicago is shooting .407 but is allowing its opponents to shoot .390. Averaging 20 trips to the free throw line per game, the Flames are shooting .669 as a team from the charity stripe.
NEW YEAR’S EVE HISTORY LESSON
Tuesday afternoon’s matinee will be the Huskies sixth contest all-time on New Year’s Eve and NIU’s first since 2011, a 65-46 loss at DePaul. All-time, Northern Illinois is 3-2 on New Year’s Eve and last earned victory in 1995 when the Huskies defeated Michigan at Chick Evans Fieldhouse, 81-69. NIU also earned victories over Dartmouth (1988, 94-86) and against Iowa (1983, 69-65) on New Year’s Eve.
CORRAL SURPASSES 800 POINTS
Last time out versus Northern Iowa, junior Amanda Corral took one step closer to joining the 1,000 point club at NIU when she crossed the 800 point threshold with a jump shot at the 14:22 mark in the second half. The Hobart, Ind. native currently has 811 points through 69 career appearances for NIU. She is currently averaging 11.6 points per game in her career and is continuing to raise that average as she is accounting for 14.6 points through nine games this season. Currently there are 25 members of the elite sorority, with the Marke Freeman (2008-11) being the last player surpass 1,000 points in a career. In only three seasons at NIU, Freeman scored 1,257 points in her career and surpassed the 1,000 clip January 8, 2011 at Central Michigan.
LAST MEETING WITH THE FLAMES
Northern Illinois and UIC squared off December 22, 2012 at the UIC Pavillion in the Chicago Loop. The Huskies jumped out as the aggressor as they took a 28-20 lead at the half, but the Flames tied it up at the end of regulation, 57-57, to force overtime. UIC would go on to outscore NIU in the extra period, 9-4, to defeat Northern Illinois, 66-61. The Flames accounted for 22 points at the free throw line, making 22-of-30 (.733) attempts.
THE FLAMES COOL IN DeKALB
Northern Illinois has had a lot of success against Illinois-Chicago in DeKalb over the course of the series’ history as the Huskies are 17-7 all-time at home against the Flames. The Convocation Center’s confines have been quite friendly for NIU against UIC since its doors opened in 2003, as Northern Illinois is 3-1 versus the Flames.
While also an eclectic offshoot of the popular style of music, freshman Jazmine Harris has seemed to put a few pieces of the college game puzzle together as she has improved her play week-to-week. While only playing 19 minutes in the Huskies last game versus Northern Iowa December 22, Harris accumulated a career-high 15 points as she slashed her way to a 6-for-10 (.600) performance. She also grabbed five rebounds and was 3-for-4 at the free throw line. At Wisconsin, her home state no less, the frosh finished 4-for-8 from the field to account for eight points with two rebounds and a steal in quick spell minutes during the first and second half. On Nov. 21 versus Bradley, Harris scored four points and registered her first career assist, dishing two against the Braves. In the win over Lamar, Harris scored five points and pulled down six rebounds in the effort.
WINNING THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS
Northern Illinois has cleaned the glass very well this season as it has outrebounded its foes, 359-339. The Huskies suffered their only loss of the season when outrebounding their opponent last time out against UNI, falling to 4-1 when leading the rebounding battle. The difference for Northern Illinois has been on the offensive end as the Huskies own a +13 clip on the offensive side and a +7 mark on the defensive glass.
The Huskies have had improved success in the field goal department this season as they have converted 25-or-more baskets in game five times in 2013-14. In those games, NIU owns a 3-2 record. Last season, Northern Illinois only made 25-or-more baskets in a game four times in 30 games.
MORE BUCKET BUSTING
Not only is NIU making a lot of baskets, they are also scoring more than their opponents, thanks to an increased presence in the post. NIU has scored more field goals than its opponents in six contests this year and is 4-2 in those instances. Compare that to last year, when the Huskies were 6-4 when scoring more field goals than their opponents.
HOLDING THEM DOWN
The Huskies defense this season has been one of the tops in the Mid-American Conference through this preseason. Ranking second in the statistical rankings released December 30th, Northern Illinois is giving up an average of 64.8 points per game. Bowling Green has the lowest average this season as it is surrendering 56.8 points per game this year.
FEAST, NOT FAMINE ON THE FAST BREAK
The Huskies have been able to create many baskets this season on the fast break with their attacking style of defensive play, while surrendering few. NIU has converted 15 fast break layups this season, while only surrendering six, to outscore its opponents, 30-12.
ON A SIMILAR NOTE...
While not always converting on a fast break, Northern Illinois has been able to capitalize on its created turnovers this season as NIU is outscoring its opponents, 117-93, in points off turnovers - a margin of +24.
JUST STEAL IT
The pressure on South Dakota State when it had possession Tuesday night was smothering as the Huskies collapsed the post and attacked the perimeter, acquiring 12 steals in the contest and causing 15 turnovers. Northern Illinois has not recorded 12-or-more steals since it registered 19 steals versus Ball State January 19, 2011 in Head Coach Kathi Bennett’s first season. For the season, NIU has outstolen its opponents, 53-47. In their nine games this season, the Huskies are averaging 5.9 steals per game this season, besting their opponents average of 5.2 this season. NIU has outstolen its opposition six times this year and is 4-2 in those instances.
A TOUGH SCOUT
Bench contributions have been very large for the Huskies this season as they have outscored their opponents, 196-149, this season. Northern Illinois’ biggest effort of the season occurred at Wisconsin on November 17 as it outscored the Badgers, 31-15. The largest margin this season was against Bradley four days later with NIU posting a +20 mark (28-8) at the Convocation Center.
The Huskies have been solid this season maintaining ball possession, only turning the ball over 121 times to their opponents 126. In the NCAA Stat Report published December 22, Northern Illinois was 30th in the nation, averaging 13.44 turnovers per game this season.
The NIU Huskies open the New Year with their Mid-American Conference opener, hosting Ohio at the NIU Convocation Center Saturday January 4 at 1 p.m.