NIU cracks No. 20 ranked CMU defense

By Andrew Hanson

A team isn’t supposed to be able to score at will against a nationally-ranked defense, but that’s exactly what the NIU women’s basketball team did in Saturday’s game.

The Huskies (10-14 overall, 6-7 MAC) defeated Central Michigan (14-10, 5-8) 68-42 in the MAC West match-up.

Coming off a tough loss to Eastern Michigan, NIU nearly matched last game’s point total in the first half.

“After the Eastern game, we did a lot of soul searching,” said NIU head coach Carol Owens. “We came to grips with what we do individually and as a team.”

Coming into the game, CMU was ranked first in defense in the MAC and 20th in the nation, holding teams to 55.4 points per game.

The Huskies came out in the first half struggling offensively, missing their first six shots. But even with shots not going in, NIU was able to hold the Chippewas defensively to keep the game close.

“If we kept our defense up, we knew something would fall,” said junior forward Kristin Wiener.

And fall they did. NIU was able to go on a 20-5 run to jump start the Huskie offense and close out the first half with a 36-15 lead.

The second half saw a closer match, but the Huskies were still able to out score CMU 32-27.

NIU scored nearly half of their points in the paint, being led by Wiener, who scored a game high 22 points.

Getting the ball to Wiener in the post was junior guard Stephanie Raymond. Raymond started off the game with a hot shooting hand and when she was stopped, she found the rest of the team.

Raymond totaled 18 points and had 9 assists in the game.

“That’s the sign of a great player,” said CMU head coach Eileen Kleinfelter. “She found another way to help her team with assists.”

Sophomore guard Whitney Lowe chipped in with eight points in 22 minutes for the Huskies.

Whitney did a great job coming off the bench once again. As a six-foot guard, she can post up some smaller guards and with her height, she helps us with our rebounding,” Owens said.