The Huskies (1-2) would fall to the Crusaders (2-1) however, 65-50.
Lehman (Nineveh, Ind./Indian Creek) led all scorers with a career-high 22 points as she finished 10-for-23 from the field, including an 8-for-15 (.533) second half. She also pulled down eight rebounds and recorded three steals. Valpo’s Lexi Miller scored 17 points, going 4-for-5 behind the three-point line.
While the Huskie defense was up to the task with their +15 turnover and +7 steal margins, it was Valparaiso who was tougher from the field. Shooting 45-percent in the game, the Crusaders were even better behind the three-point line as they finished the contest 11-for-18 (.611) beyond the arc.
Of the nine Crusaders who appeared in the game, six of them made a shot from behind the arc. Miller made four shots from behind the arc while Dani Franklin made three.
The NIU defense only allowed Valpo to convert 7-of-22 shots in the second stanza, while it converted 15 of its own baskets in front of the team bench. As a unit, the Huskies took advantage of the Crusaders miscues as they outscored Valpo on turnovers, 21-0, redeeming themselves as they scored on 50-percent of their opportunities.
The game marked the NIU debut of point guard Lacia Gorman (Fort Wayne, Ind./Wayne), who has sat out the last two seasons after transferring from Wisconsin in 2012-13 and suffering a season-ending injury last season. Gorman played 10 minutes off the bench with one assist.
“We played really good basketball in the second half. I wish we would’ve played our first half like that. We had a lot of ground to make up after the first half,” said head coach Kathi Bennett, “but when we go to Eastern Illinois next week, and we learn from our mistakes and things change, then (our first half) was worth it tonight.”
The Huskies will take on the Panthers at noon Wednesday, Nov. 26, in Charleston.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.