Coming off a 73-69 win over Mid-American Conference rival Western Michigan University on Saturday, the Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team (7-19 overall, 5-8 MAC) has their sights set on tonight’s matchup against the Northern Illinois University Huskies (7-19, 2-11 MAC) in Dekalb, Ill.
This will be the second consecutive month EMU has ended by taking on the Huskies. In the Jan. 31 matchup at the Convocation Center, the Eagles won 67-62 and were led by freshman guard Bianca Cage’s 23 points in her first career start.
Senior center India Hairston added 10 points in the winning effort, and junior forward Desyree Thomas added eight. In order to beat NIU the second time around, all three of these players will need to have a good night.
Thomas led the way for the Eagles against WMU on Saturday with 15 points in 34 minutes. She will need to have another good night against NIU to add on to her 5.8 points per game this season.
Cage scored 14 points against WMU and is currently averaging 10.1 PPG. She has scored in double digits in three of the team’s last five games (Feb. 6 vs. Akron, Feb. 9 vs. Ohio and Feb. 23 vs. WMU) and has been on the cusp of double digits in the other two (9 points vs. Buffalo on Feb. 16 and 8 vs. Ball State on Feb. 20).
Hairston scored 12 points in the winning effort over WMU and is currently averaging 9.2 PPG. She has scored in double digits in four of the last five games and sits in second place on the team in scoring with 239.
The team leader in scoring is junior forward Natachia Watkins. She has scored 258 points this season while averaging 9.9 PPG. She has also scored in double digits in four of the team’s last five games.
The Huskies have two players fighting for the team lead in points per game: sophomore Amanda Corral and senior Satavia Taylor.
Corral averages 12.5 PPG and scored 10 in 33 minutes against Ball State on Saturday.
Taylor averages 12.4 PPG and has not played in the team’s last four games.
Tonight’s game against NIU is the first of EMU’s last three regular-season games. The team has its final road game Sunday in Toledo against the University of Toledo Rockets, before coming home to wrap up the season Wednesday against Central Michigan University.
Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. against Toledo and 7 p.m. against CMU.
All three games can be heard live on WEMU 89.1 FM. Be sure to check out The Echo’s website (www.easternecho.com/sports) for game recaps, and while you’re there, check out the rest of the stories about EMU sports.
Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho