CHICAGO – Northern Illinois women’s basketball’s struggles against DePaul continued in a 68-46 loss to the Blue Demons (8-3) on Saturday at McGrath-Phillips Arena. The Huskies (3-5) surrendered a 49.1 shooting percentage, including a 58.1 second half clip, to DePaul while shooting 27.3 percent themselves. The loss marked NIU’s 19th straight to DePaul and 13th straight in Chicago as the Blue Demons improved to 34-7 all-time against the Huskies.
“I honestly thought we played pretty well,” said NIU Head Coach Kathi Bennett. “We had a lot of touches inside, but we just couldn’t get the ball to bounce our way. Their post players took it to us, though. We needed to do a better job of playing defense in the post. They are long and athletic and got after us with pressure on defense.”
Both teams struggled in a slow first half, but it was DePaul who emerged in the second half by shooting a hot 58.1 percent. The Blue Demons used stellar ball movement and post play to open the second stanza on a 9-4 run in the first four minutes to take its largest lead of the game at the time, up 37-22. A few minutes later, they upped the run to 19-12 as they hit nine of their first 16 shots in the half for a 47-30 lead with 11:45 left. Forward Jasmine Penny scored 11 of her game-high 20 points in the half. Center Kelsey Smith also did work in the paint, scoring six of her eight points in the period.
Meanwhile, the Huskies were unable to keep up to DePaul’s pace, shooting 30.4 percent. Guard Amanda Corral led NIU with 15 points and six rebounds, marking the third straight game with 15 or more points.
With NIU playing stellar defense against a team that entered the game averaging 75.1 points per game, DePaul scored only 28 points in the first half and shot just 36.4 percent. NIU trailed by only three points after a beautiful series of fakes and a jumper by Ashley Sneed. But three triples by the Blue Demons over the last five minutes of the half fueled an 11-4 run that gave DePaul a 28-18 lead at the break. The main difference at the half was rebounds and free throws. DePaul owned a 9-2 edge in free throws made and 24-18 edge in rebounds.
For the game, DePaul possessed advantages in rebounds (42-32), points in the paint (34-16) and points off turnovers (21-14).
NIU returns home Wednesday, Dec. 19 to face Eastern Illinois at 7 p.m. CT before embarking on a season long five-game road trip.