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Ohio Women's Basketball Drops MAC Opener at Northern Illinois

Junior guard Mariah Byard sunk five treys and led Ohio University women's basketball with 17 points in a 74-51 Mid-American Conference loss at Northern Illinois.

Jan. 4, 2014

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DeKALB, Ill. -- The Ohio University women's basketball team (5-7, 0-1 MAC) dropped a 74-51 decision to Northern Illinois University (5-6, 1-0 MAC) on Saturday (Jan. 4) at the Convocation Center in the 2014 Mid-American Conference opener.

The Huskies shot 53.1% from the field and limited the Bobcats to 25.0% shooting - including 22.2% from three-point range. Northern Illinois outscored Ohio, 28-12, in the paint and won the battle of the boards, 45-32. Four Huskies finished in double figures, with redshirt junior guard Danny Pulliam leading the way with 17 points.

"Northern Illinois did a nice job of guarding us," said first-year head coach Bob Boldon. "They took us out of a little bit of what we were trying to do. We just couldn't seem to get a shot to fall, and that made for a long, frustrating night offensively."

Junior guard Mariah Byard (Mannington, W. Va.) matched Pulliam with a game-high 17 points, going 6-for-9 from the field -- including 5-for-8 from three-point land. The contest marked the second straight game Byard has reached double figures and sixth time this season. She also connected on five three-point attempts for the second straight game.

Freshman guard Quiera Lampkins (Gahanna, Ohio) joined Byard in double figures with 13 points. She also hauled in a team-high six rebounds.

"I thought both of them played a nice game offensively," said Boldon. "I thought we did a good job of getting Mariah open. She made some nice reads and knocked down the shots. Quiera did a nice job -- after struggling a little bit in the first half -- of coming out and attacking in the second half."

The Huskies built a nine-point lead over the first 11-plus minutes of the game but a three by Byard, two successful free throw attempts apiece by freshman forward Destini Cooper (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) and Lampkins and a layup by sophomore guard Kiyanna Black (Columbus, Ohio) helped shave the deficit to two points. Byard then knocked down another trey to cap off the 13-3 run and give Ohio a 24-23 edge with five minutes left in the half.

The Huskies took a 29-27 lead into halftime and extended their advantage back to nine with just under 14 minutes to play but a layup by redshirt sophomore guard Kat Yelle (Geneva, Ill.), a conventional three-point play by Lampkins and a trey by freshman forward Hannah Boesinger (Hudson, Ohio) made it a three-point contest at 42-39 with just over 11 minutes left.

That's as close as the Bobcats got, though, as Northern Illinois outscored Ohio by a 32-12 count down the final stretch.

Pulliam was joined in double digits by junior guard Amanda Corral, freshman guard Ally Lehman and junior forward Natecia Augusta. Lehman achieved a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds.

Ohio returns to Athens and the friendly confines of the Convocation Center for the first of two straight home games, hosting MAC East rival Miami University next Thursday (Jan. 9). The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. The Bobcats will play five of their next seven at home after playing just two non-conference home games.