The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team’s defense held Western Michigan to less than 60 points and caused 17 turnovers Saturday.
It wasn’t enough, however, as the Huskies (8-11, 4-5 MAC) were unable to sustain an offensive rhythm against the Broncos (9-11, 5-4 MAC) and dropped the contest, 56-43.
NIU only committed seven turnovers in the game, tying its season-low mark.
“It was a really disappointing loss tonight because our defense was able to get stops when it needed to in the second half and caused Western Michigan to commit a lot of turnovers,” head coach Kathi Bennett said.
The first half was one of runs as each team traded blows with the Broncos starting it off, 7-0, followed by 4-0 and 6-0 runs by the Huskies to put NIU down, 11-10 just before the second media timeout. WMU would then go on a 16-0 run and build a 19-point lead in the final minutes of the half. Danny Pulliam (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) hit the last shot of the first half to put NIU within 13, 33-20.
Western Michigan only made four more shots than the Huskies in the first half and finished the period 4-for-7 from behind the three-point line. Defensively, Northern Illinois created eight Bronco turnovers, while only allowing three in the frame.
NIU continued to hang on tightly to the ball in the second half as it did not turn the ball over until the final six minutes of the game. The Huskies finished with seven turnovers, tying its lowest mark of the year versus Lamar on Nov. 30.
The Northern Illinois bench combined for 84 of a possible 200 minutes in the game with Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove) and Ashley Sneed (Harvey, Ill./Thornton) leading the way with 27 and 26, respectively. NIU only allowed WMU to score 23 points in the second half.
While the Huskies were holding the Broncos at bay defensively, only allowing six field goals in the stanza, Lindstrom hit three timely shots from behind the arc to lift Northern Illinois spirits. Sneed’s defensive work rate stifled WMU as she forced several turnovers and accumulated three steals.
Lindstrom led the bench in the game with nine points, followed by Jazmine Harris’ (West Allis, Wis./Heritage Christian) eight points. Pulliam led all Huskie scorers in the game with 11 points, going 5-for-11 from the field with a three-pointer, a block, an assist and a steal.
Northern Illinois pulled down 12 offensive rebounds in the game, four more than Western Michigan, however, WMU led the game in rebounding, 41-27. Bronco Miracle Woods led all scorers with 20 points off the bench.
The Huskies will return to action Wednesday, Feb. 8, and begin a two-game home stand, first hosting Akron. Tipoff at the NIU Convocation Center is set for 7 p.m.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.