Women’s basketball can’t get offense going at Green Bay

By Frank Gogola

Women’s basketball (0-1) failed to climb out of a huge halftime hole and dropped its 2013-14 season opener Friday at Green Bay (1-0).

The Huskies were outscored 31-1 in the last 11 minutes of the first half and trailed the Phoenix, 43-15, at the intermission. Their play improved as the game progressed, but they ultimately fell, 78-44, on the road.

NIU came out strong and led 12-11 eight minutes into the game as Alexis Lindstrom nailed two three-pointers, including one from nearly 5 feet behind the arc. The Huskies’ lead grew to 14-12, but from there the Phoenix posted a 31-1 run over the final 11 minutes of the opening half and held a 43-15 halftime lead.

“We battled with them and competed and matched their intensity and energy early on,” said NIU head coach Kathi Bennett. “But we fell off after they made a run. And we did not recover in the second half.”

NIU shot 6-of-25 (24.0 percent) from the field in the first half while Green Bay shot 16-of-31 (51.6 percent). The Huskies went 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from beyond the arc while the Phoenix shot 5-of-12 (41.7 percent). They were outrebounded, 24-14, and lost the turnover battle, 8-5, in the first half.

“Their defense had a lot to do with it,” Bennett said. “We definitely lost our poise and lost our shots. We didn’t get the ball inside at all; everything was off the dribble and one-on-ones. We really need to get better getting [the ball] inside … and not by forcing it inside.”

The Huskies, facing a 28-point deficit to open the second half, picked up the pace as the game progressed. While they never fully regained their footing, they did put up 29 second-half points and held the Phoenix to only 35 points in the second half; it was a much better performance on both ends of the court for NIU compared to the first half.

“[We] played hard the whole time and, I think, honestly, never did give up,” Bennett said. “Green Bay is a very good team. We didn’t stay with the game plan, and they rattled us and we lost our poise.”

Junior guard Amanda Corral paced the Huskies with 12 points, including two three-pointers in the second half, and filled the stat sheet with four assists, two rebounds, two steals and one block.

Junior forward Alex Dumoulin, who sat out the preseason game with an injury, added eight points and three rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench for NIU. Senior guard Alicia Johnson also posted eight points in the season opener.

On the night, NIU shot 30.6 percent (15-of-49) while the Phoenix shot 50.9 percent (29-of-57). The Huskies were outrebounded, 41-31, and out-assisted, 21-11. They were outscored in the paint, 44-10, and off the bench, 30-14.