Huskies trounced by ranked Irish in season debut

Turnovers prove costly for NIU in blowout loss


Summer Fitzgerald

Sophomore guard Jayden Marable (left), redshirt freshman guard Sidney McCrea, junior forward A’Jah Davis, freshman forward Laura Nickel and redshirt senior guard Paulina Castro on the court in the first matchup of the season against Bowling Green State University on Feb. 2 in DeKalb, where NIU fell 64-54. The Huskies were ultimately swept by the Falcons in 2022 after losing their second matchup against BGSU 81-52 Sunday on the road in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Summer Fitzgerald | Northern Star)

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – The NIU women’s basketball team suffered a blown out loss, 88-48 against the No. 9 University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Monday night in South Bend, Indiana.

The Huskies did a poor job in the first half at shooting, defending and handling the ball.


The Huskies had 14 turnovers in the first half. NIU finished the game with 22 turnovers.

“We gave up 88 points, but a lot of those points were because of our costly turnovers,” Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said.

The Fighting Irish had 16 steals and 23 points off NIU’s turnovers. The Fighting Irish’s sophomore guard Olivia Miles led the defense for Notre Dame as she recorded six steals to finish the game.

Shooting leaves more to be desired

NIU went 11-for-37 shooting 29.7% for the first half. Senior guard Chelby Koker didn’t have as good of a shooting performance, as she went 2-for-7 from the field. Koker was the Huskies’ leading scorer last year as she averaged 17.8 points per game.

Miles played a crucial role in Notre Dame taking a big lead on the Huskies with her 10 points. Notre Dame shot better than the Huskies, as the Fighting Irish shot 43% in the first half.

The Huskies were down at the half 41-24.

The Fighting Irish dominated NIU in the second half, starting when they outscored the Huskies 27-10 in the third quarter. Huskies struggled with scoring in the second half as they shot 25%.

Sizing mismatch

Notre Dame is a team with size, which was a problem for the Huskies throughout the game. The Fighting Irish starting line up consists of 5-foot-7-inch graduate guard Dara Mabrey, 6-foot-1-inch sophomore guard Sonia Citron, 5-foot-10-inch Miles, 6-foot-3-inch junior forward Maddy Westbeld and 6-foot-4-inch junior forward Kylee Watson.

6-foot-1-inch senior forward A’Jah Davis provided the Huskies with size, but she had to come out of the game early in the first quarter due to an eye injury. The Huskies had a shorter lineup after Davis left with 5-foot-11-inch graduate forward Emma Carter being their tallest player in the game. . Davis then returned for the second quarter.

Carlsen talks about how she was impressed with her team’s effort of fighting against tall matchup.

“I was really proud of our effort on the glass from start to finish,” Carlsen said. “It shows that we were really physical in these kinds of situations.”

Miles finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and six steals.

“She’s (Miles) got such athleticism, length and can see over the top of everybody; there’s just so many things that she can do,” Carlsen said.

Notre Dame also had three other players with double digit points, Westbeld with 13, Mabrey with 16 and graduate center Lauren Ebo with 10.

NIU couldn’t outmatch the tall team in Notre Dame as they were defeated 88-44.

The Huskies head home to the Convocation Center as play their first regular season home game at 1 p.m. Saturday against the DePaul University Blue Devils. Live statistics for the game will be available on SIDEARM Sports.