After falling in heartbreaking fashion Friday morning, the Northern Illinois women’s basketball team sprung back in the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic finale Saturday against Lamar, defeating the Cardinals by 27 points, 79-52.
Junior Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) scored a career-high 25 points and was one of three players to reach double figures.
NIU (3-3) shot .492 from the field (32-of-65), with 16 field goals a half, out-shooting Lamar (4-4) by over 20 percent in the game, .290 (18-of-62). The Huskies registered 16 assists, compared to Lamar’s five.
“We really stayed with the game plan today and continued to work on our penetration on the defense. We handled their pressure well, they like to press all over the court and we did a good job of working through that,” said head coach Kathi Bennett. “Our mentality was awesome. We did a good job of working together defensively and fighting hard.”
Hot shooting off the pass was a major key to the Huskies success as they were 16-for-33 (.485) in the first half of play, including 6-of-12 (.500) from behind the arc.
Off the bench, Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove) stepped into the game and planted herself on the corner behind the arc, hitting three three-point field goals in the half to finish the period with 11 points. Lindstrom closed the game with 14 points, adding one more three point field goal in the game.
The Huskies led by 15 at halftime and would increase that lead to 31 after going on an 23-2 run to open the second half, not allowing a Cardinal point until 4:31 into the second half. Northern Illinois led by as much as 36 in the game after a pair of made free throws by Corral at the 12:51 mark in the second half.
Corral did her best work in the second half of the game as she scored 16 points of her 25 in the second period. The Hobart, Ind. native was 10-for-16 (.625) from the field, including 2-for-4 from behind the arc. She also added three assists, two steals, a block and two rebounds in 25 of minutes as she sat in early foul trouble.
On the weekend, Corral averaged 20.5 points per game, leading the Huskies in scoring in both of their games.
While Corral added a strong offensive presence for the Huskies, it was senior Alicia Johnson (Chicago, Ill./Von Steuben) that set the tone for NIU defensively. She brought down a career-high 11 rebounds in the game with one steal, while dishing four assists on the offensive side of the floor. The Huskies would out rebound the Cardinals, 48-34.
Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) nearly added her fourth double-double of the season as she scored 11 points with eight rebounds. Augusta tied her career-best in blocks with two. NIU finished with five blocks in the game.
The Huskies return to the court Thursday, Dec. 5, at Illinois State. The game will begin at 7 p.m. at Redbird Arena.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.