Northern Illinois turned a good second half yesterday into a complete game Saturday evening in a 69-38 win over Norfolk State to take third place at the 2012 Cavalier Classic at Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena.
The Huskies (5-7) used a season-high nine three-pointers to win their first all-time meeting with the Spartans (2-10).
“I was happy with the energy we had for 40 minutes,” said NIU head coach Kathi Bennett. “We moved the ball well against the zone, made the extra pass and played unselfish. We got a much-needed win today.”
Behind a 9-for-15 performance on three-pointers, the Huskies led from wire to wire.
Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart), Satavia Taylor (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook/Loyola) and Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove) all connected on threes in the opening minutes to help NIU build an early 10-2 lead, and NSU never recovered as the NIU lead kept growing.
Through stellar ball movement, the Huskies easily picked apart NSU’s 2-3 zone as they took a 40-20 lead into halftime, the second highest scoring half of the season. Lindstrom played a huge part in the lead as she went 4-for-4 on threes en route to 14 first half points. Her shooting opened up the lane for Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone), who battled in the post to score 12 points on 8-for-8 shooting from the foul line.
“We definitely need to use Alexis more,” Bennett said. “She did a great job of shooting and played good defense too. I’m proud of how hard she played. She had a great game, which was really good to see.
“For Natecia to play back-to-back games with 20-plus minutes and scoring double figures is a great sign. She shot the ball really well from the free throw line and had a really good weekend for us.”
In the first half, NIU went 7-for-10 on threes while NSU was 0-for-6, and had 10 assists on 11 field goals. The Huskies also held edges in free throws made (11-4), points off turnovers (11-4) and bench points (14-6).
Midway through the second half, NIU opened the game up even more with a 12-0 run that was capped by a pull-up jumper from Ashley Sneed (Harvey, Ill./Thornton) as the shot clock expired. The bucket gave the Huskies their largest lead of the game at 60-24. Lindstrom also added another three to make her a perfect 5-for-5 on the day. She led the team with a season-high 17 points, adding four rebounds and two assists.
Corral also reached double figures with 11 points and six rebounds to extend her streak of scoring 10-plus points to seven games. She grabbed six rebounds and went 3-for-6 on threes to boot.
For the game, NIU handed out 14 assists on 21 field goals, led by Jenna Thorp’s (Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock) career-high five assists. The bench outscored the Spartan bench 30-14 and NIU pulled down a season-high 36 rebounds, holding NSU to a 28.8 shooting percentage and a 0-for-10 three-point performance. Additionally, the Huskies put together their best game from the foul line by going 18-for-23.
Augusta was named to the all-tournament team for her solid play all weekend. The sophomore forward scored 14 points against Xavier and 12 versus NSU, went 10-for-10 from the free throw line and 8-for-11 on field goals. She averaged 13 points, three rebounds and one block per game for the tournament.
The Huskies resume their season long five-game road trip Saturday, Jan. 5, against Valparaiso at 1:30 p.m. CT in the last game before starting Mid-American Conference play at Buffalo on Jan. 10.