Demons haunt ‘Jekyll-Hyde’ team

By Todd McMahon

It was another typical NIU-DePaul tooth-and-nail game Tuesday night but unfortunately for the Huskies, the result was still the same.

Before a crowd of 1,991 at Chick Evans Field House, the Blue Demons (11-8) pulled out their fourth-straight victory over NIU (10-8) in less than a year, 75-66. Once again, it was shooting woes that did the Huskies in.

After leading by as many as 10 in the first half and holding a 38-32 lead at intermission, the Huskies’ shooting spiraled downward in the final 20 minutes. NIU made good on 44 percent (14-36) of its shots in the opening period but went cold with 9-of-33 from the floor in the second half.

By contrast, the Blue Demons made 12-of-36 in the first half but heated up in their second-half comeback with 58 percent shooting.

Providing the hot hands for DePaul down the stretch were Tammy Williams and freshman Megan Lucid. Williams finished with a game-high 19 points, nine of those coming in the second half on four-of-six shooting.

The junior was three-of-four from three-point range, the final one coming with 36.7 seconds remaining to put DePaul up 71-66.

After missing all six of her shots in the first half, Lucid scored 13 in the second half, including two free throws and a layup in the last 26 seconds to seal the victory.

“We couldn’t defend their penetration to the basket (in the second half),” NIU head coach Jane Albright-Dieterle said. “They kept attacking our guards and coming at us.”

“In the second half, we did a lot better job, defensively,” DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said. “As far as our offensive rhythm in the second half, it was much more than one pass and a shot.”

Although four Huskies reached double figures, DePaul’s defense forced them all into subpar shooting. Cindy Conner led NIU with 16 but was only 6-of-15 from the floor. E.C. Hill finished with 12 on 4-of-11 shooting. Angela Lockett and Dee Dee Jeske finished with 10 each but on a combined 6-of-21.

“There’s no consistency in our team,” a dejected Albright-Dieterle said. “You see a team that shoots 43 percent, then goes to 27 percent. It doesn’t foul, and then it does foul.

“It’s very frustrating as a coach for it to be a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde-type team. It’s February, and it shouldn’t be like that.”