In her first appearance of the season for NIU (1-3), Amanda Corral charged off the bench for 24 points as she made 8-of-12 shots taken to lead the Huskies at EIU (2-3).
However, her effort wasn’t enough as NIU fell to the Panthers, 55-46.
The 14:34 mark on the clock marked the return of Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) to the Huskie lineup as she saw 35 minutes off the bench.
After NIU tied the game, 2-2, Eastern Illinois regained and retained the lead for the period as it led at halftime, 27-20. However the Huskies played with spirit offensively and defensively in the half as they forced eight turnovers and recorded seven assists on their nine field goals.
Corral was NIU’s top-shooter in the half as she was 4-for-5 with two behind the arc for 10 points in the period. Sophomore Ally Lehman (Nineveh, Ind./Indian Creek) pulled down six rebounds and distributed three helpers.
NIU’s final basket of the second half, a buzzer-beating, fast-break layup by Danny Pulliam (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) sparked NIU at the start of the second half as the Huskies pulled back within four points 24 seconds into the stanza as Corral made a layup and a free throw on the same possession, 27-23.
The junior continued that stretch of hot shooting in the second half as she was 4-of-7 from the field, 3-of-3 behind the three-point line and 3-of-3 at the free throw line to finish with 14 points in the period and 24 in the game.
“It was nice to have Amanda back today,” said head coach Kathi Bennett. “When she was gone we had some production from Ally and Kelly, who both stepped up in different games. We just need to get some production down low in the post and find a way to get them better looks at the basket.”
Both Northern Illinois and Eastern Illinois traded free throws in the second half as they combined 31 total attempts. However, NIU only converted 50 percent of their attempts in the period as EIU held a 13-7 advantage at the line in the second half.
Lehman was the Huskies top-rebounder in the effort as she pulled down a career-high 11 boards, all off the defensive glass, while finishing with four points and four assists. Freshman Renee Sladek (Merrill, Wis./Merrill) was a force defensively for NIU as she accounted for two blocks and a steal, with five points and seven rebounds.
EIU’s Sabina Oroszova and Erica Brown shared the scoring lead with 16 points each Brown was an impressive 7-of-9 from the field while Oroszova made seven baskets at the charity stripe.
The Huskies will hit the road Thursday for Las Vegas to play in the Lady Rebel Roundup at UNLV. NIU takes on South Dakota State at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29.