Four different Northern Illinois scorers reached double-figures and the Huskie defense held Kent State to under 50 points as NIU (8-10, 4-4 MAC) evened its conference record against the Golden Flashes (3-16, 0-8 MAC) with a 65-43 triumph.
The Huskies out-rebounded Kent State, 31-28, improving their record to 8-1 when completing the task while also recording 15 assists on 26 baskets.
Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) led Northern Illinois in scoring with 13 points, Ashley Sneed (Harvey, Ill./Thornton) contributed 12 points while Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) and Jenna Thorp (Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock) scored 10. Four different players also recorded three assists.
“It was good defensive effort by the team tonight,” said head coach Kathi Bennett in the post game press conference.
“Kent State is a really scrappy team and their posts are very good. They’re only an outside shooter away from winning some games. It’s hard to defend ball screens all night long and I’m proud of how we got stops when we needed them. We did what we needed to do against that defense, they throw you off with the way they play. It’s good to be 4-4 in the MAC and plugging away.”
After the Flashes opened the game with a layup, the Huskies started the game on a 10-2 run and ended the first half on an 11-2 run to lead Kent State, 33-20, heading into the halftime locker room. Northern Illinois pounded the paint in the first half against the Golden Flashes as 12 of NIU’s 30 points came underneath the basket, leading to the Huskies 15-of-30 (.500) shooting performance in the half.
Thorp led NIU scorers with 8 points in the half.
NIU never relinquished the lead in the game and continued to pour it on KSU as it constantly built its lead, gaining a 23 point advantage with 23 seconds left in the game on a pair of free throws by Corral.
Five different NIU players scored four-or-more baskets from the field, with Corral and Sneed pacing the Huskies with five each. Sneed shot with precision, weaving through the Flashes defense to find open space on the floor to complete the night 5-for-6. Sneed also had three assists in 23 minutes on the floor.
Thorp’s effort on the night was well rounded as she shot .500 from the field (3-of-6) and was 4-for-4 from the free throw line. She also grabbed six rebounds, dished three assists and accounted for three steals. Thorp’s companion in the post, Augusta, also had a complete evening as she blocked three shots – tying her career-high – with five rebounds, a steal and an assist.
Northern Illinois nearly had six scorers reach double figures as Danny Pulliam (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) and Ally Lehman (Nineveh, Ind./Indian Creek) each scored nine points. The duo also had three assists apiece.
Off the bench for Kent State, Montia Johnson led all scorers and rebounders in the game with 16 points and 10 boards for a double-double.
Defensively, NIU held the Golden Flashes to 18-of-44 shooting (.409), including an 0-for-4 clip behind the arc.
The Huskies also forced 16 Kent State turnovers and had six steals in the game. It was the first time since Feb. 10, 2013, that Northern Illinois held an opponent to under 50 points in a game, doing so at Kent State last season (W, 52-47).
NIU will return to action Saturday, Feb. 1, at Western Michigan in the Mid-American Conference‘s only game of the day. Tipoff in Kalamazoo is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Central.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.