The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team suffered a 72-40 setback to Toledo at Savage Arena Wednesday afternoon.
NIU’s (7-18, 2-10 MAC) offense struggled to find its rhythm, shooting 27.7 percent for the game.
The Huskies failed to score in the final four minutes of the first half and were held without a point through the first four minutes and 15 seconds of the second half when a three-pointer by Jenna Thorp (Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock) ended the scoring drought.
“We couldn’t sustain the effort needed to compete with Toledo,” said NIU head coach Kathi Bennett.
“The last four minutes [of the first half] was what I was most disappointed in. Because of foul trouble we had to take some kids out and we couldn’t maintain our momentum. We turned it over the last seven possessions of that half and that really hurt,” Bennett added. “The energy and effort it takes to play with Toledo, especially in this atmosphere is tremendous. We couldn’t muster enough of it.”
Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) led the way for the NIU offense, finishing with 12 points, going 2-for-4 from the field and perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. She was the only Huskie to finish in double figures.
“The one positive at the end, we got some post touches and we know we can get the ball inside,” Bennett said.”
Toledo (23-2, 11-1 MAC) shot 47.1 percent from the field, including a torrid 60.9 percent in the second half. Naama Shafir led all scorers with 25 points, while Yolanda Richardson added 10 to the Rocket cause.
NIU kept pace with Toledo through much of the first half.
Trailing 11-6 with 10:36 left in the half, NIU rallied outscoring the Rockets, 11-6 in a three-minute span, tying the game at 17-17 on an Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove) three-pointer. However, Toledo closed out the half on a 12-2 run and took a 29-19 lead into halftime.
The second half began much the same way the first half ended. Toledo put together an 11-3 run to open the final frame to take a 40-22 advantage with 15:45 to play in the contest.
Turnovers also plagued NIU. The Rockets converted 23 Huskie miscues into 29 points, including six fast break points.
The Huskies return to action Saturday, Feb. 23, when NIU travels to Muncie, Ind. to take on Ball State. Tip off time is set for 1 p.m. CT. Fans can listen to all the action live on 1360 AM/98.9 FM WLBK with Andy Garcia on the call.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.