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    Wildcats Trump Saint Mary's, 77-60

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Senior Ifeoma Okonkwo (pictured) scored a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds in Northwestern's victory Saturday afternoon.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Senior Ifeoma Okonkwo (pictured) scored a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds in Northwestern's victory Saturday afternoon.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Dec. 17, 2005

    Box Score

    Saint Mary's Box
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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Five Wildcats scored in double-figures, boosting Northwestern to a 77-60 victory over Saint Mary's Saturday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena. NU improves to 4-5 on the season, while the Gaels fall to 3-7.

    "I'm very pleased with everyone's contributions today," head coach Beth Combs said. "Today's game was the best team effort so far this season. We definitely got stronger in the second half."

    Ifeoma Okonkwo (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak) led the way for the Wildcats, tallying game-highs in points and rebounds with 24 and 9, respectively. She also chipped in four assists and four steals. Freshman Erin Dickerson (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) scored a career-best 14 points on 6-of-9 from the field, and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. She has now scored in double-figures the past two games.

    Sara Stutz (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South), coming off a career-performance last time out against Western Michigan, had another solid day, contributing 13 points, two assists and three rebounds.

    Junior A.J. Glasauer (Freiburg, Germany/Theodor Heuss-Gymnasium) also scored 13 points in addition to dishing out seven assists and taking away three steals. Melissa Miller (Bloomington, Minn./The Breck School) scored 10 points and recorded five rebounds. Miller has scored double-figures in three of the past five games.

     

     

    After both teams exchanged scoring spurts to open the game, Northwestern took a 22-21 advantage on a three-pointer by Nadia Bibbs with 9:31 remaining. The 'Cats held the lead through the rest of the half.

    A steal by Ifeoma Okonkwo with seconds running down in the opening stanza set up a three-pointer by Erin Dickerson as the buzzer sounded, increasing the lead to seven, 39-32 at the half.

    The Wildcats never relinquished the lead despite a run by Saint Mary's mid-way through the second half. Two free throws by Serena Benavente cut the NU lead to three with 10 minutes left, but a 13-3 run inflated the difference to 13 at the 6:30 mark. Northwestern exploded on a 27-14 run to close out the game and seal the victory.

    Northwestern received a huge boost from key reserves as the Wildcats scored 40 points off the bench. NU's defense forced 27 Gael miscues - including a season-high 12 steals -- , which resulted in 33 points off turnovers.

    Northwestern is next in action at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22 when inter-city rival DePaul visits Welsh-Ryan Arena.