Ice-cold shooting kills Huskies

By Chris Sigley

Tipping the scales in almost every stat box, the NIU women’s basketball team failed to surpass Toledo in the most important statistic—shooting—which forced the Huskies to hand the Rockets a 65-50 decision.

A shielded bucket when the clock was running seemed to be the excuse for an imbalance in scoring, as NIU could only score 16 buckets during actual game time, but was able to score 18 free throws during dead time.

The Huskies “busted (their) tails on defense” according to coach Jane Albright, but their 21.6 shooting percentage from the field, including 0 for 8 from three-point range, was nothing to write home about.

Albright said she did not think Toledo did anything fancy, it was just that NIU couldn’t hit its shots. The Huskies’ 7-of-27 shooting from the field in the first half and 9-of-47 in the second half could not compare to the Rockets’ 14-of-33 and 11-of-23 clips.

“We had a horrendous shooting game,” Albright said. “It wasn’t like we came in and stunk the gym up. It was a very frustrating night and we didn’t get a lot of easy shots.”

Assisted by five straight turnovers from NIU, Toledo opened up a 17-3 lead in the first 9:30, maintaining a wide gap until the end of the first half, where the Rockets dominated 35-19.

Trailing 44-24 with 12:53 in the game, the Huskies put together an 11-2 scoring spree cutting the deficit to 46-35 with 8:09 on the clock. Reserve player Pam Seward came off the bench and helped spark the comeback, according to Albright.

Seward’s impact (pouring 6-of-6 from the line) was impressive enough to earn her a starting position Sunday against Michigan.

“She did all the things she could do right,” Albright said.

Despite the efforts of Seward and game-high scorer Lisa Foss (20 points), who spent most of the night dodging a box-and-one defense executed by Toledo, the 11-point span was the closest the Huskies would come to catching the Rockets.

“Lisa did a great job for us,” Albright said. “She played as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen play.”

Toledo snapped back into scoring with the help of Keri Cartwright’s 6-of-6 field goal shooting during the night, and Kelly Savage, who made the only three-pointer of the game and contributed nine total points.

The Rockets maintained the point spread, allowing the Huskies within 13 points with 6:04 on the clock. But the teams exchanged baskets from that point to conclude to the final decision.

“It was a poor shooting night—that’s the bottom line,” Albright said. “We have to score to win. We didn’t do that tonight.”