The Northern Illinois University women’s basketball team dropped a 64-54 decision to Ball State at Worthen Arena Saturday afternoon.
“I’m proud of our kids,” said NIU head coach Kathi Bennett. “I thought we played really well. For the first time in a while, I felt we outplayed our opponent. Sometimes you don’t get rewarded for that.”
The Huskies fall to 7-19 overall and 2-11 in the Mid-American Conference, while Ball State improves to 13-13 overall and 10-3 in league play.
After taking a 23-20 lead into the second half, the Huskies extended their lead to five, 27-22, in the first minute of the second half.
However, Ball State responded with an 11-1 run, with Brittany Carter accounting for seven of those 11 points. Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) hit a three to snap the NIU shooting slump to pull NIU within two, 33-31, with 16:09 left to play. Unfortunately, that would be as close as the Huskies would get the rest of the game.
Ball State shot 66.7 percent in the second half from the field for the game and 42 percent. The Cardinals’ inside game proved too much for NIU as the Huskies were outscored, 36-10, in the paint.
Ball State’s strategy of driving the basket paid off as the held the end in the personal fouls category, 12-25, and forcing NIU into foul trouble. The Cardinals went 21-of-38 from the free throw line in the game, including 19-of-28 in the second half.
Four Huskies finished in double figures with Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove) leading the way with 15 points, going 4-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-7 from beyond the arc and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Ashley Sneed (Harvey, Ill./Thornton) finished with 12 points and Jenna Thorp (Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock) contributed 11 and both players led NIU in rebounding with seven boards. Corral rounds out the quartet with 10 points.
Northern got off to a slow start in the first half, going the first nine minutes without a bucket until Corral got the Huskies on the board with her first field goal of the game. The Huskies battled back and stayed close until Sneed gave NIU its first lead of the game, 19-18, with 2:36 left in the half.
The Huskies shot 39.1 percent from the field in the first half and 34.5 in the second before finishing the game shooting 36.5. NIU did win the battle on the boards, out-rebounding Ball State, 40-36.
Northern Illinois returns to action Thursday, Feb. 28, when the Huskies open a two-game homestand versus Eastern Michigan. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.