Northern Illinois University (2-4) scored a season-high 79 points Sunday, shooting 27-for-50 from the field, as five-different Huskies reached double-digits as NIU defeated Delaware State, 79-59.
The Hornets (1-6) entered the game averaging 74 points per game.
Senior Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) led all NIU scorers in the contest as she scored 18-points with an 8-for-10 effort from the field. Ally Lehman (13), Danny Pulliam (10), Renee Sladek (15) and Jenna Thorp (12) also scored in double figures for the Huskies on the night, the first time NIU accomplished the feat this season.
Three-pointers and free throws also added to the Huskies big victory as NIU was 4-for-5 behind the arc and 21-for-30 at the charity stripe.
“I thought Delaware State pressured us well so we ran when we should have and pulled it back (to shoot) when we should have,” said head coach Kathi Bennett. “We looked good in the open courts, knocked down shots and executed well. Amanda shot the ball phenomenally and made the baskets on the open looks that they gave us. It was nice to see us score and make the open looks that they gave to us.”
NIU operated its offense and defense with a confidence in the first period as it held Delaware State to 22 points, not allowing the Hornets to score in the final six minutes of the half, and scored 36 points. The Huskies ended the period shooting 13-for-25, a field goal clip of 52-percent.
Rebounding was a major factor for NIU as it overpowered DSU, 19-8, including an 8-2 margin on the offensive glass, which led to the Huskies outscoring the Hornets, 10-0. NIU also recorded four fast break layups in the period. NIU led at halftime, 36-22.
Three Huskies – Lehman (Nineveh, Ind./Indian Creek), Pulliam (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) and Thorp (Hinckley, Ill./Hinckley-Big Rock) – all scored eight points in the first period, with Pulliam hitting her two three-point baskets in the period.
NIU opened the second half 10-of-13 from the field (.770) as it built an 18-point lead halfway through the stanza. The wide open second half allowed the Huskies and Hornets to combine for 80 points (43-37, NIU) and 12 fast break field goals with NIU hitting nine of those.
Ball movement was at a premium for NIU in the contest as it accounted for 19 assists on their 27 field goals in the contest, led by Pulliam who had seven helpers.
The NIU bench outscored the DSU bench in the contest, 11-0, as Kelly Smith (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead) added nine points to the NIU total.
The Huskies led by as much as 22-points in the game, reaching the pinnacle with 2:22 left on the clock and holding that 20-point mark for the final ticks of the clock.
One year to the day was the last time NIU won by 20 points or more on the road or in a neutral site as the Huskies defeated Lamar in the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic in Las Cruces, N.M., 79-52.
NIU will take a two-week break before returning to action Sunday, Dec. 14, when the team heads to Missouri for a non-conference showdown with the Tigers. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. Central. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network +.