DEKALB, Ill. -- The Indiana Wesleyan University women's basketball team walked into Northern Illinois University on Tuesday night and shocked the NCAA Division I school 61-52 in an exhibition game at the NIU Convocation Center.
"I'm really proud of our kids' effort tonight," said Indiana Wesleyan head coach Steve Brooks. "It's not supposed to happen. A small school going to a Division I school and beating them on their home floor."
The patented Wildcat defense was on display for the MAC program, holding Northern Illinois to 29.1-percent (16 of 55) shooting and just 18.2-percent (2 of 11) from 3-point range.
"Our defense was really good," said Brooks. "We defended hard and gave a great effort tonight."
Indiana Wesleyan shot well from the field Tuesday, especially from beyond the arc. IWU hit 9-of-14 shots from 3-point land for 64.3-percent shooting. Overall, Indiana Wesleyan hit on 46.7-percent from the field.
Leading the way for the Wildcats were junior guard Claire Freeman and senior center Krystal Stoneking with 15 points apiece. Freeman hit 3-of-5 from deep and Stoneking grabbed six boards Junior forward Paige Smith added 10 points and six rebounds while senior guard Ashley Brooks hit 3-of-4 from beyond the arc for nine points.
"This is a confidence booster for the team," added Brooks. "Northern Illinois has 15 full rides and they beat Toledo last year, who won the NIT championship."
Indiana Wesleyan was able to maintain composure against the high level competition. IWU hits 76.9-percent of their free throws and committed just 16 turnovers to Northern Illinois' 19. Northern Illinois led 24-22 at the half, but Indiana Wesleyan outscored NIU 39-28 over the final 20 minutes.
"When you play a Division I school at their facility, it seats 12,000 people, it was a good environment," continued Brooks. "The kids played extremely hard. That the key."
Indiana Wesleyan, ranked No. 3 in NAIA DII, is 2-0 this season. The Wildcats return to action this upcoming weekend at the Elswick Classic hosted by Georgetown (Ky.) College.