UIC Game Notes
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Nov. 28, 2006
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The Wildcats return to the friendly confines of Welsh-Ryan Arena for a 7 p.m. showdown Wednesday against intra-city foe Illinois-Chicago. Northwestern (4-1) is coming off a 59-34 victory against Gardner-Webb in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island at the 2006 Junkanoo Jam. Junior Sara Stutz (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) was named to the All-Tournament team for her efforts. Stutz poured in 16 points--including 13 in the second half--in a 61-58 loss against Mississippi while contributing 10 points against the Bulldogs.
"UIC will be a tough contest for us," head coach Beth Combs said. "They are quick, scrappy and athletic and we will have to bring our "A" game. This is the first of four home games for us so we are ready to win in front of our fans!"
Last Time Out...
Gardner-Webb scored the first four points of the game before Northwestern took control, putting together a 30-4 first-half run en route to a 59-34 victory in the 2006 Junkanoo Jam Freeport division. With the victory, the 'Cats claim third place.
Northwestern's defense held Gardner-Webb to 15 percent shooting from the field in the first half while nailing 60 percent of its looks. Kristin Cartwright spearheaded NU's offense, scoring nine of her 16 points in the first half.
The 'Cats led by as many as 25 in the opening half, continuing to push the ball for a 32-16 advantage at the break. The Bulldogs' 16 points were the second-lowest total the 'Cats have allowed this season.
If there were any chance of Gardner-Webb taking a lesson from the 'Cats comeback the night before, Northwestern quickly dashed its hopes. NU went on an 8-2 run to open the second half, pushing the lead to 40-18 with a little under 15 minutes remaining in the contest.
The Wildcats' defense was relentless, containing Gardner-Webb's offense to just one basket at the 11:31 mark. The Bulldogs' 34 points was the Wildcats' lowest opponent total of the season.
Northwestern dominated down low, grabbing 43 rebounds to the Bulldogs' 36 while also scoring 22 points in the paint. Every Wildcat contributed in some way, etching their names in the scorebook through rebounds or points.
Sara Stutz recorded her fifth-consecutive double-digit performance, scoring 10 points. Fellow junior Melissa Miller nearly grabbed a double-double, scoring eight points while grabbing a game-high nine rebounds.
Freshman Kaitlin McInerney chipped in eight points on 4-of-6 shooting and pulled down five rebounds. Point guard Beth Marshall contributed a career-high six rebounds.
The Series with Illinois-Chicago
Northwestern holds a commanding 15-5 lead in the all-time series against the Flames. The first time these two teams met was back in the 1975-76 season. Last year, the Wildcats edged UIC, 81-78 on Nov. 26 at the Pavilion. Then-senior Ifeoma Okonkwo scored a game-high 31 points, while A.J. Glasauer chipped in 17. Okonkwo led the way with 10 rebounds while Melissa Miller pulled down nine.
Scouting the Flames
UIC enters Wednesday's match up with a 3-2 mark on the season, having defeated Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Eastern Illinois. The Flames have lost to Illinois and most recently Evansville. Three Flames are averaging double-figures, led by Jacquay Holmes who has dumped in 15.2 ppg. She is joined by Krystal Hugelier (14.6 ppg) and LaShonda Grant (13.2 ppg). Nikki Grobbecker is the squad's leading rebounder with 7.0 boards per contest.
Hugelier has scored in double-figures in four of five contests this season and was one point shy of scoring ten versus Illinois on Nov. 14. Hugelier has notched at least one trey in each of UIC's five games and drained a season- high four versus Western Michigan on Nov. 11 where she shot 57.1 percent (4-for-7) from beyond the arc , hit 7-of-13 from the field and went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Junior Sara Stutz leads NU with 16.0 ppg and is second on the squad in FG percentage, knocking down 50 percent of her looks. The Glenview, Ill. native was named to the All-Tournament team this past weekend, as she recorded a game-high 16 points versus Mississippi and 10 points against Gardner-Webb. Stutz has now scored in double-figures in all five games so far this season.
Freshman Kaitlin McInerney has made a statement early in her career as a Wildcat, shooting a team-best 68 percent (19-of-28) from the field while also pulling down 7.4 rpg. McInereney is averaging 10 ppg, good for third on the team.
The Wildcats are atop the Big Ten standings in several categories. NU leads the league in scoring defense (50.2), FG percentage defense (28 percent), rebounding offense (44.6), three-point FG percentage (23 percent) and defensive rebounds (30.6).
NU is shooting 44 percent (131-of-299) from the field as a team and 38 percent from beyond the arc. The Wildcats are also out-rebounding opponents by an average of 8.6 rpg.