Broncos Win MAC Opener

Wednesday night the Western Michigan University Broncos women's basketball team opened up their MAC season by holding on to defeat the Northern Illinois Huskies 80-73 at University Arena. Despite a Broncos uncharacteristic 14 turnovers some timely scoring accompanied with 12 steals the Broncos were able to withstand a late charge by the Huskies to secure the win.

Head Coach Ron Stewart was looking to get the bench more involved but the Broncos were never able to get a large enough lead to allow the players on the bench to get some quality minutes. Of the starting five only one, Lori Crisman, played under 30 minutes. Maria Jillian led all players by playing the entire 40 minute game. Casey Rost played 39 minutes and led all scorers by scoring her jersey number, 32.

In the last few games teams were able to shutdown Rost's outside game, but this time she wasn't going to be denied. Casey hit 4 of her 5 three point attempts, she was 9 of 12 from the floor and hit 10 of her 13 free throws. She also had a game high 6 steals to go with Jillian's 5 steals.

However late in the 2nd half the Huskies was trying to mount a comeback and had pulled to within 7 when Lindsay Secrest hit a three pointer. Just before Secrest's basket Kate Verseput made a great feed to Carrie Moore who sank a three point basket of her own. Following Secrest's basket Verseput took over by hitting a 2 point basket and then hitting a three pointer after Rost stole the ball and gave it to Verseput. With the 735 fans in attendance sounding like 2,000 fans the Huskies called a timeout to regroup and to try to slow down the Broncos.

The Broncos lead got as high as 15 but the Huskies were never able to get to within fewer than four points. Verseput finished the game with 10 points. In fact four Broncos scored in double figures; Rost, Jillian (10), Verseput and Kelly Koerber (10). The Huskies also had four players score in double figures; Secrest (19), Stephanie Raymond (11), Monique Davis (10) and Joi Scott (16). The Huskies Jennifer Youngblood led all players with 13 rebounds.

For the game the Broncos out shot the Huskies 47.2% to 44.1% from the floor. The Huskies did however have the advantage in three point shooting and free throw shooting despite the Broncos having 12 more free throws than the Huskies. The Huskies shot 55.6% from behind the arc and 91.7% from the charity stripe. The Broncos countered with a 47.1% shooting percentage from three point range and 75.9% from the free throw line.

The Broncos (6-6, 1-0 MAC) return to action Saturday at 2:00pm when the Buffalo Bulls come to Kalamazoo to take on the Broncos at University Arena. The Huskies (5-7, 0-1 MAC) are also in action on Saturday when they host the Bowling Green State University Falcons at the Convocation Center in DeKalb, Illinois with tip-off scheduled for 2:05pm Central time.

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