The Northern Illinois University women’s basketball team opened its season at Midwest perennial power Green Bay.
After opening to a 12-11 lead in the first eight minutes of the contest, the Huskies fell to the Phoenix, 78-44, after strong play in the post and consistent three point shooting ability by Green Bay.
“Defensively, we had spurts where we were really good and it takes a lot of work to play the way we want to play,” said head coach Kathi Bennett. “If we get that energy consistently, we’ll be ok. This offense needs all five people playing hard all the time and when we don’t fight to the front and we don’t put ball pressure on, we’re going to get hurt.”
The NIU defense kicked off the season as the Huskies forced a missed three-point field goal in the opening possession of the game, which was followed up by a Northern Illinois three-pointer of its own as sophomore Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove) hit the shot to open up the 2013-14 scoring season for NIU.
The teams traded blows through the first 10 minutes of the half, including a 12-11 Northern Illinois lead at the second media timeout with 11:53 left in the first half. Lindstrom hit her second three-pointer of the game just before the break to give the Huskies their lead.
In the remainder of the half, the Phoenix would use their strong outside shooting , 5-for-12 (.417), and post rebounding abilities to regain a lead over the Huskies and build a double-digit lead heading into the half, 43-15. Lindstrom led the NIU scorers with six points, while Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) added five.
Green Bay’s Breannah Ranger made her presence known in the post grabbing eight rebounds, while scoring six points. She finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for her third career double-double.
Foul trouble by the Huskies added to the difficulty of closing the gap with the Phoenix as Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) fouled out with 11:30 left in the game.
Junior transfer Alex Dumoulin (Hampshire, Ill./Elgin CC) stood up off the bench to relieve some of the pressure in the post, adding eight points, including a three point basket, and three rebounds in her 25 minute effort. Dumoulin was cleared to play in the game on Wednesday, after sustaining an injury in the preseason.
“We have to get some consistent post play moving forward,” said Bennett. “In the second half, we tried to establish a presence with Natecia (Augusta), and did, but she’s got to be able to play more than 15 minutes. That just comes from a sense of urgency. We need her to be there for us in the post.”
Corral would reach double-digit scoring for the 39th time in her career on a three point field goal in front of the Huskie bench with 3:46 remaining in the game to lead the Huskies in scoring at 12 points.
Northern Illinois will return to the court Tuesday night at the NIU Convocation Nov. 12 versus Mississippi Valley State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. For tickets, call (815) 753-PACK. Ticket prices start at just $6 per person.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.