NIU women’s basketball: Huskies prepared to take on Eastern Michigan Eagles

By Walter Douglas

What’s happening

Women’s basketball (11-14, 7-8 MAC) will go against the Eastern Michigan Eagles (15-11, 8-7 MAC) 1 p.m. Saturday at EMU Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich.


NIU snapped its four-game losing streak Wednesday by beating the Central Michigan Chippewas, 69-62.

Senior guard Amanda Corral finally got the help she needed to get NIU out of the losing slump. Freshman forward Kelly Smith had a breakout performance, scoring 16 points, one point shy of her career high. Sophomore guard Ally Lehman flirted with a triple-double; she had nine points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Corral finished with 25 points — 10 coming from the free-throw line — four assists, six rebounds and one steal. Overall, NIU shot 43.1 percent for the game and will hope to continue the high-efficiency offense today.

Eastern Michigan is coming back home after beating the Ball State Cardinals, 56-41. In the Wednesday game, EMU didn’t particularly shoot the ball well. The Eagles made 34.5 percent of their shots in that game. But, they held Ball State to 23.6 percent from the field. They forced the Cardinals to turn over the ball 16 times. They’ll look to continue their defensive streak against the Huskies.

Players to watch

In the last meeting between NIU and Eastern Michigan — Jan. 3 in DeKalb — Corral scored 15 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, dished out three assists and recorded two blocks and one steal. Corral is still on a hot shooting streak, averaging 21.1 points and shooting 48.2 percent in her last nine games.

EMU sophomore guard Cha Sweeney is averaging 14.8 points per game and is forcing two turnovers per game. When Sweeny played NIU earlier this season she scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds and stole the ball twice. She will look to continue to disrupt the Huskies’ offense and capitalize on their turnovers.

The quote

“We’re doing a lot of film work,” said head coach Kathi Bennett. “Sweeney is the best point guard in our league, so we have to stop her.”

Last meeting

In their last meeting the Huskies beat the Eagles in overtime, 54-48. The Huskies outscored the Eagles in the paint, 20-16, and scored 15 points off of the Eagles’ 18 turnovers.


NIU is No. 2 in the nation in turnovers per game (10.7) and No. 24 in scoring defense (55.8).

NIU is currently the eighth seed in the MAC Tournament and could move up to No. 7 by beating Eastern Michigan today, as the Huskies would own the tiebreaker with a 2-0 regular season record against the Eagles.