The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team used a strong defensive effort and strong bench play to post a 48-38 victory over Eastern Illinois at the Convocation Center Wednesday night.
“It was a slow start, but we truly believe in the foundation of defense first,” associate head coach Joe Conroy said. “When we kept looking up at the scoreboard and they have two points, it wasn’t because they couldn’t make shots. It was because they couldn’t make uncontested shots. We were really proud of the team for that.”
Sophomore Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) led the way for the Huskies (4-5) with a game high 10 points, while hauling in a team-high eight rebounds. Backcourt mate Satavia Taylor (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) turned in a solid game as well, finishing the night with nine points and five rebounds.
“They got in foul trouble early in the game. Combined, they played 19 minutes in the first half,” Conroy said. “In the second half, they knew they had to come out and be aggressive.
That was really part of the game plan as well. We wanted to try and exploit where Eastern was weak in some areas and those were the two players we felt could’ve had the biggest impact at trying to exploit those weaknesses.”
Northern Illinois’ bench came up big as well, outscoring the Panthers’ bench (5-6) 23-13. Sophomore forward Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) scored eight points, going three-for-three from the field and two-for-two from the free throw line. Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove) added six points.
After a slow start, the Huskies went on a 10-0 run midway through the first half to open up an 18-6 lead with 4:32 left to go in the first half. However, the Panthers responded with an 11-4 run to close out the half and NIU went into halftime with a 22-17 lead.
Eastern Illinois made it a three-point game early in the second half. However, NIU rattled off a 15-4 run to jump to open up a 14-point lead with nine minutes left in the game. Back-to-back buckets by Augusta sparked the run, while Corral’s offense and defense helped the Huskies to extend their advantage.
The Huskies return to action Saturday, Dec. 22, when NIU travels to Chicago for a meeting with UIC. Tip off is set for 1 p.m. CT. Fans can listen to the game live on 1360 AM WLBK and through Huskie All-Access.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.