Nov. 30, 2012
DeKalb, Ill. - Host Northern Illinois used a 14-2 run late in the second half to earn a 67-63 win over Loyola tonight at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb, Ill. Monica Albano scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Ramblers (3-3). Northern Illinois moves back to .500 (3-3) with the win.
"I thought we took a step forward tonight," said head coach Eric Simpson. "I was proud of how hard we played. Northern Illinois hit a lot of shots in the first half but we dug ourselves out of that hole and were in good position to win the game. The difference between winning and losing close games often comes down to a couple of plays and attention to detail and we will work on correcting a couple of things heading into our next game against Western Illinois."
Northern Illinois hit three three-pointers to grab an early 9-4 lead but Loyola answered with a 16-5 run to take its first lead of the game, eventually opening up a 20-14 lead after consecutive treys from Albano and Abby Skube. The Ramblers still led 27-22 on another Albano triple before Northern caught fire to end the half, hitting 9-of-12 from the floor over the final seven minutes to take a 42-32 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Huskies finished the period shooting 61% from the floor while Albano's 12 points helped the Ramblers stay close.
The Ramblers opened the second half with renewed defensive intensity and Albano capped a half-opening 7-0 run with a three-pointer to make it a three-point game. The home team managed to cling to its lead before the Ramblers put another spurt together, this time rattling off nine straight - the final five from Skube - to open a 54-48 lead with 8:43 to go. The Huskies scored the next seven to regain the lead and a Jenna Thorp jumper capped the 14-2 run that gave NIU a 62-56 lead with 3:26 left.
Taylor Johnson drove the lane for a basket to help stem the tide and Northern missed a pair of front-end chances to give the Ramblers a chance. Albano buried her fifth trey of the night to make it a 63-61 game with 19 seconds left but Amanda Corral went 4-for-4 from the stripe the rest of the way to seal the game.
Albano finished 7-of-10 from the floor (5-of-8 from downtown) for her 20 points. Law notched her third double-double of the season, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Skube (season-high 14 points) and Johnson (10) also reached double figures.
Loyola returns to the floor on Wednesday night (Dec. 5) when it hosts Western Illinois at 7 p.m. at Gentile Arena.