With both teams searching for their first Mid-American Conference win of the season, it was Eastern Michigan who earned the initial victory 64-52 at the Convocation Center on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles’ up-tempo style of play and pressure defense led to a 28-12 halftime deficit that NIU was unable to overcome.
The win for EMU (9-6, 1-1 MAC) marks its sixth straight win over the Huskies (6-8, 0-2 MAC) and seventh in Ypsilanti. Meanwhile, NIU suffered its fourth consecutive setback.
The Eagles came out with energy and never let up as they led wire-to-wire. EMU started out with an 8-0 run before Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) got the Huskies on the board with a layup 4:35 into the game.
Then the Eagles increased the lead to 19-5 near the 11-minute mark to cap a 6-0 run, leaving NIU reeling as EMU would enter the locker room at half with the 16-point lead.
NIU’s halftime total was its lowest scoring half of the season and lowest since scoring 12 against the Eagles last season in the same building on Feb. 19, 2011. Holding the Huskies down were 16 turnovers, including seven EMU steals, which led to a 15-5 edge in points off turnovers for the Eagles.
To start the second half, EMU went on an 8-5 run to force an early NIU timeout as the Eagles led 36-17. A few minutes later, EMU would build its largest lead of the game, 46-21, with 13:33 left.
From that point on, the Huskies outscored EMU 31-18. However, the Eagles’ cushion was too large to top, even with NIU’s second highest scoring half of the season — 40 points.
Satavia Taylor (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook/Loyola) led the Huskies in scoring for the second straight game with 14 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Shelton also reached double figures with 12.
The Huskies continue their mini-road swing as they head to Ball State for a 6 p.m. contest Wednesday, Jan. 11.