Trailing by as much as nine points halfway through the first half Sunday, the Northern Illinois women’s basketball team defeated Temple 58-52 at the Convocation Center to give the Huskies their second straight victory and improve the team to 2-1.
NIU avenged a loss from last season to the Owls, a 79-56 triumph for Temple in Philadelphia, Pa. Freshman Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) led all scorers with 16 points and also recorded 10 rebounds to record her first collegiate double-double.
“I thought our rebounding was huge in this game, outrebounding them by nine,” said head coach Kathi Bennett after the contest. “We took care of the ball and applied full court pressure at the end of the game and we attacked. (We brought) energy, enthusiasm, heart, hunger, determination, desire – all that stuff – We did that tonight (to win this game).”
Temple quickly jumped on top in the contest and increased its lead to nine points with 10:52 remaining in the first half, 18-9, with a three-pointer by BJ Williams.
As the Huskies began a high-tempo pace of play to rally back, freshman Claire Jakubicek (Cary, Ill./Cary-Grove) provided a pair of crucial field goals in the final five minutes of the half to bring the Huskies to within five points.
Jenna Thorp (Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock) brought the team to within four points on a free throw and revitalized NIU with a three-point shot to close the half and decrease Northern Illinois’ deficit to only one point, 22-21. Seven different players scored for the Huskies in the first half.
In the second half, Northern Illinois continued to play with its high energy that carried the team to within one of a Temple team that defeated the Huskies by 23 a year ago. Playing smart and physical, NIU went to the charity stripe 22 times in the second half, converting 16 of those shots to the Owls 8-for-13 performance at the line in the stanza.
Corral was a big contributor at the line, converting six of her seven attempts, as was senior Kim Davis (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township), who made a game-high seven of 10 from the line. Davis finished with 13 points.
With Corral and Davis drawing fouls and contributing buckets on the fouls, the Huskies built an eight-point lead with 14:35 remaining in the contest. The Owls brought it back to within one halfway through the second half and Corral finger rolled a layup into the hoop, followed by a pair of free throws a minute later to increase the lead back to five.
Temple continued to push, but Northern Illinois pushed back and eventually declared victory over the Owls.
The Owls were prudent on scoring their points in the post, outscoring the Huskies down low 26-22 in the paint. Shey Peddy led all Temple scorers with 13 points. The Owls lost Friday night to No. 24/25 Ohio State, 77-66, and will now face defending national champion Texas A&M.
Northern Illinois improves to 2-1 now, while Temple is 2-2.
The Huskies will return to the friendly confines of the Convocation Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, against Bradley.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.