HAUTE, Ind. - The Indiana State women's basketball team
scored 13 unanswered points over five minutes in the middle of the second half,
leading the Sycamores to a 58-52 victory over Northern Illinois inside Hulman
Center on Tuesday night.
The victory improves the Sycamores to 5-2 on the season and 4-0 inside Hulman Center while the Huskies drop to 3-4.
Northern Illinois led for the majority of the first half, pushing their lead to its largest margin at 19-13 with 7:18 remaining in the half on a layup by Jada Buggs. Indiana State's defense held NIU without a field goal in the half from that point forward, closing the half on a 10-3 run and holding a 23-22 edge at the break. Sophomore Racheal Mahan gave the Sycamores the lead at halftime, collecting an offensive rebound and putting back a layup just before the halftime whistle.
Mahan led Indiana State with 10 points and six rebounds in the first half while sophomore Natasha Zurek added six points and four steals. ISU shot 11-for-29 (37.9%) in the opening 20 minutes, against 9-for-20 (45%) for NIU.
Northern Illinois regained the lead on a jumper by Buggs to start the second half and pushed their lead to seven points, at 36-29, with 12:38 remaining on a pair of free-throws by Jenna Thorp. The Huskies began the second half shooting 5-for-6 from the field while the Sycamores went 2-for-8 during Northern Illinois' early run.
Indiana State went on their second-half run following a pair of shots at the charity stripe by Amanda Corral, turning a 38-32 deficit with 11:19 to go into a 45-38 lead with 5:52 on the clock. Senior Taylor Whitley scored seven points during the run, including a three-point play following a steal to give the Sycamores the lead.
The Huskies got within one point, at 46-45, but freshman Marina Laramie converted a layup with 4:17 to play to push the margin back to three points. Following the next media timeout, Northern Illinois was called for a technical foul after sending six players onto the court, allowing junior Anna Munn to knock down two free throws and Whitley to sink a jumper in the paint to give the Sycamores a 52-45 lead with 3:19 remaining in the game.
Munn would close out the ISU victory at the free-throw line, knocking down six consecutive shots at the stripe in the final minute of play.
Whitley led Indiana State with a season-high 18 points, while Mahan went for her third double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Munn went into double-digits for the seventh-straight game, scoring 15 points with a perfect 10-for-10 night at the line. Northern Illinois' Corral led all scorers, totaling 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
Indiana State showed pure hustle on the defensive end to total 19 steals on Tuesday night, the fourth-most steals in school history for a single game. The ISU record is 20 for single-game steals, achieved three times in the late-80s. Whitley led the team with seven steals, while Zurek picked up four in the first half.
For the game, Indiana State shot 20-for-52 (38.5%) from the field while Northern Illinois went 18-for-41 (43.9%). ISU picked up six points over NIU at the free-throw line, making 17-for-26 (65.4%) to NIU's 11-for-12 (91.7%).
Indiana State continues their homestand on Friday, Dec. 7, hosting Illinois (Chicago) at 7:05 p.m.