The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team played a complete first half and opening nine minutes of the second at Buffalo Saturday afternoon against UB.
But the Huskies (8-14, 4-8 MAC) were unable stop the charging Bulls (14-9, 7-5 MAC) as they defeated NIU, 66-57.
“I thought they pressured us really well in the second half and sped us up to. We lost our poise and committed a lot of turnovers, which we can’t make. We need all the possessions we can get,” said head coach Kathi Bennett. “(In the first half), our defense couldn’t have gotten much better. We were really flying around out there.”
The first half was a high-paced affair as both teams combined for 60 shots in the period. Buffalo opened the period 12-of-22 from the field but the NIU defense stifled the Bulls in the final minutes as they were 0-for-10 from the field. Northern Illinois did not allow a Bulls field goal in the final 8:20 of the half, only allowing UB to score five points from the free throw line. Buffalo shot .393 in the half, compared to NIU’s .375 mark.
NIU would carry a five point lead into halftime, 34-29, the Huskies third-straight game in which they held their opponent under 30 points in the first half.
Offensively in the first half, the Huskies regained its lead on a 14-2 run in the final 10 minutes of the period.
Alexis Lindstrom (Howards Grove, Wis./Howards Grove) scored eight of Northern Illinois’ points during the run to lead all Huskie scorers in the half. Of the nine NIU players to appear in the first half, eight different Huskies scored in the half. Lindstrom was 3-of-5 in the first half, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc.
At the free throw line, each team took seven shots with the Huskies hitting all seven of their shots in the stanza. Buffalo was 6-of-7.
NIU opened the first half with that same energy it finished with in the first half as it opened on a 14-5 run to build a 13 point lead, 48-35, with 11:44 remaining in the half as Lindstrom hit a three-point basket, her fourth of the game to tie a season-high set against Lamar on November 30.
The Huskies would be held without a field goal for 9:33 in the half, converting three free throws in that time. Despite that, NIU was only down by four points after Danny Pulliam (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) converted a layup to make it, 57-53, to break the duck with 2:11 remaining in the game.
Augusta led all NIU scorers with 12 points and seven rebounds, followed by Lindstrom’s 11. Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) scored 10 points. Ally Lehman (Nineveh, Ind./Indian Creek) was held scoreless in the tilt, however, the freshman had a career-high six assists with three rebounds, two steals and one block. Buffalo’s Kristen Sharkey and Alexus Malone scored 21 and 20 points, respectively in the game.
Northern Illinois will return to action Wednesday night when it closes its road trip at Akron. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Central.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.