WMU women outlast N. Illinois
Broncos Remain Perfect at Home this Season with Big Win Over NIU
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Junior guard Deja Wimby led the charge Wednesday evening scoring a season-high 24 points for the Western Michigan women's basketball team, as the Broncos defeated Northern Illinois in high scoring shootout, 88-83, inside University Arena. WMU improves to 10-6 overall, 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference and are a perfect 6-0 at home.
"Today was a big one for us," commented WMU head coach Shane Clipfell. "We don't want to give up anything on our home court in this conference and we knew NIU could shoot and we have struggled to score at times this season. We were especially good at taking care of the ball tonight which we haven't been as of late."
What proved to be an extremely fast paced game in Kalamazoo, the Broncos scored a season-high 88 points tonight going 34-of-63 (54 percent) from the hardwood compared to the Huskies shooting at a 50 percent pace off 31 field goals.
It was a total team effort for the Brown and Gold as seven of the eight players that found the court scored. Wimby's career-high 40-minute performance led WMU as the guard also converted on a career-high 10 field goals to go along with a season-high nine assists, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Three other Broncos scored in double figures including junior forward Breanna Mobley pouring in 22 points shooting an impressive 7-for-10 from the floor and 8-for-12 from the charity stripe as the Lansing, Mich. native nearly missed out on her eighth double-double of the season. Redshirt junior Jasmyn Walker added 13 points and three rebounds while senior Najee Smith added 11 points coming off the bench.
Both teams came out firing but the Huskies would take the first quarter, 24-21, after shooting a blistering 4-for-5 from behind the arc. The Broncos were able to stay close mostly in part to Wimby's seven points and sophomore Emma VanZanten's strong performance off the bench with six points and four rebounds.
"Emma's 10 minutes were monumental with six points in a short stint," added Clipfell. "Credit goes to her because she has prepared for her opportunity when she got it."
NIU road momentum in the second quarter, leading by as many as five, but WMU cut the deficit to just three heading into the locker room. Smith led the way this time with six of her 11 points coming in the second 10. Both teams remained hot, shooting over 50 percent each.
Mobley led the Brown and Gold in the third stanza, adding nine points and shooting a perfect 3-for-3 but the Broncos still trailed by five heading into the final quarter. WMU exploded in the fourth, scoring 26 points off 10-of-16 shooting and holding NIU to just four field goals and 16 points. The Broncos scored 14 of their 43 points in the paint in the final 10 while Wimby added 11 points.
With just one minute remaining in the game and the Broncos up by three, freshman Jordan Walker delivered a crucial steal at midcourt that led to an easy basket and made it a two possession game to help seal the home victory.
"We made good defensive plays down the stretch especially Jordan's steal that took it from three to five and I am really proud of our team," noted Clipfell.
As a team the Broncos dominated the paint, outscoring the Huskies 43-28 in the paint. Defensively, the Brown and Gold forced 15 turnovers to go along with nine steals that lead to 15 points. With turnovers becoming a problem as of late, WMU only turned the ball over 12 times on the night.
Western Michigan continues its mini home stand on Saturday, Jan. 13, hosting Ohio University at 2 p.m. with the men's program to follow. The Bobcats enter the game with an 8-7 overall, 2-2 MAC and a 3-3 away record.