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Huskies Hand Ohio Home Loss Despite Comeback

Jan. 24, 2009

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ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio had three players in double figures and mounted a second-half charge to pull within two, but the deficit was too great as Northern Illinois walked away with the victory, 67-59. Junior guard Jenny Poff (St. John's, Mich.) led the Bobcats with 15 points, three rebounds and three steals.

Also in double digits for Ohio (7-11, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) were senior forward Lauren Hmiel (York, Pa.) and sophomore forward Kamille Buckner (Chicago, Ill.). Hmiel contributed 14 points and a career-high four steals, while Buckner added 12 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Jennifer Bushby (Gahanna, Ohio) chipped in six points, six boards and four assists.

"Offensive rebounds were the difference," Ohio coach Semeka Randall said. "Any time you give up 22 offensive rebounds, it is going to be hard to win. Give Northern Illinois credit though, they played tough. I was proud of of our players for fighting back like they did. We just dug ourselves too big of a hole, and we couldn't climb out of it."

In a battle of the two best rebounding teams in the MAC, NIU (10-9, 5-1 MAC) came out the winner, out-rebounding Ohio by a margin of 44-33. The Bobcats shot 37 percent from the field for the game on 20-of-54 field goals. The Huskies shot 41 percent, including 45 percent from behind the arc, netting nine threes for the game.

Two players led NIU with a game-high 19 points. Senior guard Jessie Wilcox scored 19 on 5-of-12 from three-point range, and sophomore center Ebony Ellis had 19 on 9-of-14 from the floor, recording a double-double with 11 rebounds.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair until five minutes remaining, when NIU got hot and went on a 12-2 run to end the period, going into the locker room with a 40-25 lead.

The Huskies shot 45 percent from the floor to Ohio's 32 percent in the opening half of play. Poff led the Bobcats with six points on two three-pointers. NIU was led by Wilcox, who nailed 3-of-6 from behind the arc and totaled 11 points at the break.

After its largest halftime deficit of the season, Ohio stormed back with a 20-5 run to get within two points with eight minutes remaining. The Bobcats held NIU scoreless for four minutes of play during their charge.

Down by eight with just over two minutes to play, Poff hit a three to pull Ohio within five. However, Wilcox responded with two treys on consecutive possessions for the Huskies, giving her five for the game and putting victory out of reach.

The Bobcats return to The Convo next Saturday, Jan. 31 when they play host to Central Michigan. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. ET.