Northern Illinois had four players reach double-figures at Akron Wednesday night, outscoring the Zips in the second half, 45-41, but the Huskies (8-15, 4-9 MAC) would fall to UA (16-8, 10-3 MAC) as the Zips earned their program record ninth-consecutive victory, 89-75.
Junior Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ill./Hobart) scored 21 points, while freshman Ally Lehman (Nineveh, Ind./Indian Creek) added 14 points in the second half, shooting 7-for-7 in the stanza. Akron’s Rachel Tecca scored 36 points in the game.
“Offensively tonight, we showed how good we can be when we have that attacking mentality,” said head coach Kathi Bennett. “Second-half points really hurt us in the first half and that’s how they got the lead. Our guards did a really nice job, they had a good feel in the second half offensively and that was as good as we’d looked in awhile.”
The Huskies and the Zips played at a high flying pace in the first half as the teams combined for 78 points in the first period and 86 more in the second stanza. Both Northern Illinois and Akron shot over 45 percent from the field in the half and both teams combined for a 31-for-61 (.508) performance from the field. The Huskies were 12-of-19 with three minutes remaining in the first half, but closed the period 13-for-27 (.481) in the half.
Corral paced the squad with 11 points and 4-for-7 average. She was also a perfect 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Akron’s Tecca and Hanna Luburgh were explosive scorers in the half as they scored 18 and 11, respectively, combining for 29 points.
NIU was superb in the second half as it made 17 of its 28 shots attempted in the period for a clip of .586. The average was the Huskies best since a .591 average in the second half versus Ohio in the Jan. 4 Mid-American Conference opener on January 4. It was the most second half field goals for Northern Illinois since converting 18 at Toledo Jan. 9.
Playing pure offensive basketball, both teams combined for seven turnovers in the game with NIU forcing three from Akron. It was the Huskies first 40-point half since scoring 41 at Miami on Jan. 18 and their seventh 40-point half this season.
Lehman was a major cog of the Huskies’ high-percentage as she was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field in the second stanza to score 14 points in the frame and in the game, a new career-high for the frosh.
After recording 11 points in the first half, Corral added 10 points in the second period, scoring 10 points with four personal fouls on her. Her 21 points put her four points shy of eclipsing the 1,000 point mark in her career and becoming the 26th NIU player to accomplish the feat.
Lindstrom scored 11 points off the bench for the second-straight game, shooting 3-of-5 from behind the three-point line and 4-of-9 from the field. In the last five games, the Howards Grove, Wis., native is 15-of-31 (.483) from behind the arc.
On the defensive side, Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) recorded her third-straight game with a block, averaging 2.0 per game in that span. She scored four points and pulled down three boards.
The Huskies will return to action Saturday, Feb. 22, when they host MAC West leader Central Michigan. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Central.
NIU also will host Alumae Day festivities Saturday with all alums welcome to attend. Complimentary tickets, along with access to the Nelson Suite and complimentary food, will be provided to all who RSVP to Amy Schmidt in the Huskie Athletic Fund at 815-753-1923 or via email at [email protected]