Women’s basketball team loses 93-64


Bryan Bund

Grace Lennox drives toward the hoop against a Northern Illinois defender. The Panthers lost 93-64 Friday night at Lantz Arena.

JJ Bullock, Assistant Sports Editor

There were no surprises from Northern Illinois Friday night at Lantz Arena.

The Huskies, who ranked fifth in the country in points per game last season, had four players score in double figures and shot 53 percent from the field as a team in a 93-64 offensive route over the Eastern women’s basketball team.

Eastern knew coming into the game that Northern Illinois was going to be the best offensive team it would play all season and the Huskies proved it, scoring 93 points, seemingly making every shot regardless of how tight Eastern played on defense.

“You can see that team scoring that many points again,” coach Matt Bollant said. “I give them a lot of credit because they came (on) our court and they dictated and they were the most aggressive team and they were great.”

Senior Grace Lennox led Eastern with 17 points and seven assists and Halle Stull added 11 points of her own.

The Huskies were given a game-high 26 points from forward Kelly Smith.

Smith was a big factor upfront in the game where it seemed the Panthers could not match Northern Illinois in the paint.

The Huskies outrebounded Eastern 49-33 and outscored them in the paint 37-25.

“The number of times they lobbed the ball to (Smith) and we had no help in there, that just showed unawareness of what’s going on what we are trying to stop for sure,” Bollant said.

Northern plays fast paced on offense, coupled with its tough play on the defensive end in the paint, led to 36 of Eastern’s 70 total shots coming from beyond the arc.

The Panthers made just nine of those 36 threes, including 2-of-18 in the first half, in a game where they struggled to convert jumpers.

“I think 36 out of 70 is too many shots. Especially when you shoot 25 percent,” Bollant said. “Now if we shoot 35 or 40 percent, I don’t care how many three’s we take. But when you shoot that percentage, and in the first half we were 2-for-18, you can’t go 2-for-18 and shoot 18 of them.”

Eastern trailed the Huskies 21-16 after the first quarter, but the Panthers struggled on both sides of the ball in the second quarter, getting outscored by the Huskies 21-10.

Bollant said the second quarter struggles were the key to the game, as his team went just 3-for-19 shooting in the quarter and were once again unable to limit Northern offensively.

“We weren’t great defensively in the first quarter but we were fighting for the first five or six minutes of the second quarter and then we just missed shot after shot and didn’t get it going and then we kind of hung our heads a little bit and they stepped up,” Bollant said.

The Panthers were able to force Northern into 17 turnovers, 13 in the first half, but allowed the Huskies to have a lot of open looks from the field that they rarely missed throughout the game.

“We are not very aware (on defense) and that is something that we have to grow,” Bollant said. “ You can’t be a great defender, one if you aren’t aware and two if you don’t talk. And we are not really good in those areas.”

The loss drops the Panthers to 0-1 on the season. They play Wright State on the road Tuesday night.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]