The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team had one of its best three-point shooting games of the season versus Ball State Sunday at the NIU Convocation Center.
While the Huskies (8-13, 4-7 MAC) were 7-of-11 from behind the arc, one made shot from tying their season-high, it was not enough against the Cardinals (10-12, 5-6 MAC) as they fell, 63-50.
Danny Pulliam (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) led all NIU scorers with 11 points, making 3-of-4 shots from behind the arc in the second half. Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove) was also 3-for-4 from behind the arc in the game.
“We were very aggressive offensively to start the game, then we stood around too much until we came out in the second half with a great amount of energy. We just needed to play that way for 40 minutes instead of 20,” said head coach Kathi Bennett.
Ally Lehman (Nineveh, Ind./Indian Creek) attacked right out of the gate as she scored all five of NIU’s points through the first media timeout. The Huskies and the Cardinals traded leads throughout the first 10 minutes of the game, leading 14-13 with 9:23 remaining until halftime. BSU reclaimed the lead with 6:36 left after Shelbie Justice made a three point basket to make it, 17-14. Ball State would lead 28-18 at halftime, making 4-of-9 point three point shots taken.
Lindstrom kickstarted the Huskie offense in the second half as she hit all three of her shots taken from behind the three-point line, bringing NIU back within 13 points with 13 minutes remaining in the game. Pulliam’s final three point shot with just under four minutes to go brought the Huskies back within 11.
NIU was 7-for-13 (.538) from the field to end the game, including a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point land. Northern Illinois improved its shooting in the second half as well, shooting 12-of-30 (.400) compared to its .364 percentage in the first period.
The rhythm of the Huskies offense was clear in the game as it connected 10 assists on their 20 field goals in the game, including four from Pulliam. Northern Illinois out-rebounded Ball State, 28-26, in the contest and were led by Jenna Thorp (Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock) who pulled down seven, three off the offensive glass. She also scored eight points. The Huskies also scored 15 points off second chances. The Huskies are 8-3 when out-rebounding its foes.
Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) stood tall in the post defensively for NIU as she blocked three shots, tying her career high for the third time this season. Augusta scored four points and pulled down four rebounds off the glass. Lehman finished with eight points, while Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) finished with nine in the game.
Ball State’s Nathalie Fontaine led all scorers with 18 points, going 6-of-10 from the field, 2-of-2 from behind the three point line, and a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. NIU was outscored at the free-throw line, 24-3. The Huskies are now an even 5-5 at the NIU Convocation Center this season and will return to their home court for two-straight games Feb. 22 and 27 versus Central Michigan and Toledo, respectively.
NIU will not return to action until Saturday, Feb. 15, heading East to Buffalo to take on the Bulls at 11 a.m. Central. For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.