Huskies hit road to Eastern Michigan

By Chris Jurmann

Climbing the stairs onto the bus isn’t nearly as painful as it used to be for the NIU women’s basketball team.

After beginning the season 0-8 on the road, the Huskies (11-12, 7-5 MAC) are riding a three-game road winning streak coming into today’s game at Eastern Michigan.

“It’s going to be a tough one,” NIU coach Carol Hammerle said. “Last year, we played them here and it went to overtime, 84-83. It’s going to be a tough ball game.”

The matchup brings together two of the top candidates for the MAC’s Freshman of the Year Award, Eastern Michigan’s Nikki Knapp and NIU’s Joi Scott.

Knapp is averaging 12.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds.

Scott has come on late and made her mark in the MAC conference. In MAC contests, Scott is averaging 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Eastern Michigan is led by senior Abby Wiseman, who is averaging 12.1 points and 4.9 rebounds.

“Abby Wiseman has been doing some good things,” Hammerle said. “She’s their go-to player inside.”

The Eagles also have two other players who average double figures in scoring, guards Dru Bishop (10.6) and Ryan Coleman (13.3).

“They are going to be pretty balanced,” Hammerle said. “And the game is going to be at their place, which I always say is going to be a 10-point advantage.”

The Huskies are hoping to get junior forward Jennifer Youngblood back on track. In the last three games, Youngblood is averaging 5.7 points on 40 percent shooting.

After allowing 42 points to Akron while forcing 31 turnovers Saturday, the Huskies are hoping to keep the defensive pressure on Eastern Michigan.

“[Last game], we played some good defense,” Hammerle said. “I hope we take that to Eastern and play some solid defense.”