UB Women’s Basketball has split their past four games but the good news is that they’re coming off of a 77-62 win over Kent State and a one week break. What faces them today is even tougher challenge as MAC West power Northern Illinois finds their way into the confines of Alumni Arena. The Bulls will be tested for a full forty minutes against a high octane triple-scoring threat.
Head coach Lisa Carlsen is in her second year as the Huskies coach and it didn’t take long to turn them in a MAC Championship contender. Carlsen came into this season with a 195-182 overall record. Her last coaching stop was at Division II Lewis, where she lead that team to the Elite Eight in the Division II NCAA Tournament.
Matching the same overall record as UB with 16-6 so far, the Huskies have fared much better in MAC play. NIU managed to win all of the games they were expected to in non-conference and they really hit their stride once January rolled around. Their only MAC losses are to Akron and their most recent performance against Central Michigan.
Northern Illinois boasts three players that score 16 or more points a game and they all have size. The best player on this team is Ally Lehman and she’s game changer within herself and can take over if you let her. Lehman averages a double-double at 16.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. The Huskies also have Cassidy Glenn and Courtney Woods in their arsenal at 16.6 points and 17.5 points per game. What’s going to be even more challenging for the Bulls is that every name I’ve mentioned can shoot the three-ball and stretch the floor doing it.
What to watch for
1. If there’s one game to play your best defense, it’s this one
Northern Illinois comes into this game as the third highest scoring team in the nation. At 88.3 points per game, the Huskies are also one of two teams — the other being nationally ranked DePaul — that have five players averaging in double figures. To say the least, UB has their hands full in this one.
2. Slowing the tempo
I make this case a lot for UB, but this is an absolute must. The Bulls are not going to win this game letting the Huskies score 88 points. Running a ton of clock and stopping NIU’s transition game is going to be key here.
3. Be aggressive and force turnovers
The good news for UB facing an uptempo team is that forcing turnovers should be a given. The Huskies are going to push transition and this is when we see the defense of Stephanie Reid and JoAnna Smith take over.