NIU to Buffalo

By Chris Jurmann

Confidence hasn’t come easy for the Huskies this season.

After falling to Ball State Wednesday at home, NIU (9-11, 5-4 MAC) brings a two-game road winning streak into Buffalo, New York, to take on the Bulls (11-8, 5-3 MAC) Sunday.

“Winning a couple on the road doesn’t help our confidence too much after a loss at home,” NIU coach Carol Hammerle said.

The good news for the Huskies is that help continues to be on the way.

Senior guard Kristan Knake can expect even more time than the 21 minutes she received against BSU.

“Kristan’s ankle is still sore, and it showed in the game,” Hammerle said. “I expect more from her every time she gets back on the court.”

The same can not be said for senior forward Kim Boeding. After seeing an ear specialist, Boeding still is expected to miss two weeks before she attempts a comeback.

Boeding’s injury is considered a viral infection of the vesicular nerve. Hammerle said if some of the symptoms of dizziness were to go away, she possibly could return sooner.

NIU faces one of the top defensive teams in the MAC in Buffalo. The Bulls keep opponents at a MAC-low 37.8 percent from the field.

Buffalo is led by the combination of forward Jessica Kochendorfer (10.9 points and 7.9 rebounds) and guard Kate McMeeken-Ruscoe (13.7 points and 4.2 rebounds).

But Buffalo isn’t what is worrying Hammerle the most.

“I’m more concerned about us,” Hammerle said. “There was a lack of execution against Ball State. We were not getting the looks we were used to. Now part of that was Ball State, but we have to improve on that definitely.”