Huskies overcome poor shooting to top Spartans

By David Lance

The 1,415 fans at Sunday’s NIU women’s basketball season opener were well advised to keep their coats on in the Chick Evans Field House.

Field-goal shooting made it as cold inside as it was outside.

For the game, the Huskies shot 27 percent from the field (20-72), and their opponent, Michigan State, shot 39 percent (24-61). But the Huskies warmed up late in the second half to come from behind and win 58-55.

“(NIU) kept coming at us, even though they were shooting very poorly, and eventually I think it wore us down a little bit,” MSU head coach Karen Langeland said.

“The thing I’m most impressed with is this team’s heart,” NIU head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle said. “They hit shots when they had to.”

Down 51-40 with 6:20 left in the game, NIU scored eleven unanswered points, tying the game on forward Deb Teske’s left-baseline 3 pointer.

Down 55-54 with :53 left, NIU forward Cindy Conner hit two of her game-high 16 points.

“I did it when we needed it,” said Conner, who was four-18 from the field.

After MSU’s forward Annette Babers missed a shot and lost the rebound out-of-bounds, NIU guard Dee Dee Jeske was fouled.

After Jeske hit both free throws, the Spartans’ Christine Powers missed a 3 pointer and fouled Teske with :7.6 left.

Teske missed the first free throw of the one-and-one and the Spartans grabbed the rebound. With no time left, Powers’ 3-point attempt was blocked by Conner.

“Our defense really picked up in the last five minutes of the game,” said Jeske, who scored 14 points.

Led by center Sheronda Mayo, who hit all five of her field goals and both of her free throws in the first half, MSU held a 32-24 halftime lead.

The Huskies hit just 10 field goals in the first half.

“It is a fun game for a young team like we are to be able to shoot poorly and still win,” Albright-Dieterle said.