Northern Illinois’ five-game winning streak at home against Miami (Ohio) came to a close as the RedHawks earned a 65-51 victory Sunday afternoon at the Convocation Center in a cross-divisional Mid-American Conference meeting.
The RedHawks (14-7, 6-2 MAC) took advantage of 20 NIU (5-16, 0-8 MAC) turnovers for a 22-6 edge in points off turnovers and were led by 25 points from Courtney Osborn.
“Our sense of urgency I thought was lacking, except for the start of the game and the run we had in the second half,” said NIU head coach Kathi Bennett.
“That lack of consistency, energy and focus is what is killing us right now. Minus the turnovers, we did well on offense but I thought our defense was soft. Jenna [Thorp] and Jada [Buggs] stepped up on offense and that gives us a great chance to win ball games. Now, we have to tighten up on defense.”
The Huskies started the game well as Satavia Taylor (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook/Loyola) had two steals on Miami’s first two possessions and scored five of NIU’s first seven points. A few minutes later a nice look from Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) led to a layup by McKenzie Hoelmenn (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North) to give the Huskies the largest lead they held all game, up 11-6 with 13:09 left in the first half.
But from there, the RedHawks finished the half strong with a 21-7 run to take a 27-18 lead at the break as the Huskies went scoreless after Hoelmenn’s layup until a jumper by Taylor with 5:53 left. Osborn scored 15 points in the half and the RedHawks took advantage of eight NIU turnovers for eight points, while NIU only scored two points off five MU miscues.
In the second half, Miami shot a scorching 57.7 percent from the field and scored 14 points off 12 Huskie turnovers. After the Huskies turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the half, Miami grabbed its largest lead of the game at the time, up 31-18 with 18:12 left.
NIU clawed back to within six with 7:34 left as Jada Buggs (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial/Wisconsin) scored eight points during a 16-9 Huskie run. But back-to-back turnovers that led to two baskets for Miami ended any chances of an NIU comeback.
Three Huskies scored in double figures, led by Jenna Thorp’s (Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock) season-high 16 points on a career-best 4-for-6 performance on three-pointers. Taylor notched 13, while Buggs had 12.
The Huskies continue play against the MAC East Division with a 6 p.m. CT Wednesday, Feb. 6, contest at Ohio.