Rebounding from Friday’s home loss to Tennessee, NIU’s women’s basketball team defeated North Star Conference foe University of Illinois-Chicago 72-55 Monday night at UIC’s Physical Education building in front of 202 fans.
The Huskies were led by Cindy Conner, who grabbed eight rebounds and a game-high 23 points. The Flames’ scoring leader was Tasia Georganas, who had 13 points.
“I think we were really concerned with playing a game like this after Tennessee,” NIU head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle said. “We had close to 5,000 fans at that game. I think we combated this with pressure defense, which we learned a lot on Friday.”
NIU (10-6, 5-0) recorded 18 steals—three each by Angela Lockett (nine points) and Dee Dee Jeske (six points)—and UIC (4-14, 1-5) committed 30 turnovers—17 in the pivotal first half. Dianna Wingis had a steal and two points in the game’s first seven minutes, but due to illness, viewed the rest of the game from the bench.
The game was tied at the 15:33 mark of the first half, but NIU outscored UIC 25-5 in the next 13 minutes to take a 33-13 lead. In that run, Conner had nine points, while E.C. Hill and Lockett had five apiece.
In the first half, UIC was 3-for-9 from the free-throw line and 8-for-32 from the field. The Huskies went into intermission up 39-20.
UIC’s Angela Gilbert scored the second half’s first five points. NIU didn’t score until five minutes had passed. After going on a 11-4 run, UIC trailed NIU 49-37 with 10 minutes left. But the Huskies pulled away again, going on a 11-4 run themselves.
Valerie O’Neill scored eight points for the Flames, and Penny Armstrong and Andrea Johnson scored six apiece. While scoring 12 points, Gilbert registered a game-high 15 rebounds, 11 of them offensive.
However, NIU out-rebounded UIC 47-43. Hill, who scored 14 points, and Tracy Mondek, who scored eight, had eight rebounds.
“Rebounding was important,” Albright-Dieterle said. “Offensive rebounds were a key (NIU had 23 offensive boards, UIC had 19). This was a really balanced scoring attack. You couldn’t ask for more.
“This was a big win for us and it sets us up for the big match on Friday against Wisconsin-Green Bay (13-4, 5-0).”
Friday’s game in Wisconsin will mark the first time the conference leaders meet this season. Last season, the Huskies won 81-80 at Chick Evans Field House and lost 91-79 in Green Bay.