Huskies dominate Western Illinois with historic scoring feat

NIU starts at 3-1 for second-straight season


Nyla Owens

NIU graduate forward Emma Carter shoots a three-pointer near the end of the first half of the Huskies’ Thursday game at the Convocation Center. (Nyla Owens | Northern Star)

DeKALB – The NIU women’s basketball team had a historic performance Thursday on its way to a 100-61 win against Western Illinois University.

The Huskies (3-1) defeated Western Illinois (0-4), hitting a team-record 21 three-pointers, along with graduate guard Janae Poisson accounting for nine threes. The previous record for the most tree-pointers in a game dates back to the 2020 season when the Huskies hit 18 against Eastern Illinois University.

Not only were the Huskies dominant from the three-point range, their defense and bench effort paved the way tp a convincing win. NIU outscored Western Illinois’ bench 61-23 while also outscoring them 26-3 on points off of turnovers.

NIU graduate guard Janae Poisson shoots a three-pointer during the middle of the second period against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks at the Convocation Center. (Nyla Owens | Northern Star) (Nyla Owens)

“I think it gave confidence to a lot of different people tonight,” NIU women’s basketball head coach Lisa Carlsen said. “Again, we were able to play our entire roster, and at some point, everyone was able to have success. I think confidence is a huge thing especially as we prepare to go on the road now for the next four or five games. I think this can propel us to understand how vital everybody is to our success, and I think in our locker room we know that, it was just on display tonight.”

Poisson had a historic night of her own, becoming the 33rd women’s basketball player in NIU history to score a career 1,000 points. This 1,000-point performance came along with a 32-point game being an NIU career high, along with nine three-pointers made which is also a career-high for Poisson. Poisson’s previous career high in points was in her freshman season when she scored 27 points, and her previous three-point high was in her sixth year where she made six three-pointers.

“They were leaving us open, and that’s always fun,” Poisson said. “Coach (Adam) Tandez did a good job preparing us for their zone, and I feel like we did a really good job sharing the ball.”

The three-point shots were coming easy for the Huskies due to Western Illinois’ double-teaming of NIU’s senior forward A’Jah Davis every time she touched the ball. This led to many wide-open three-point shots for the Huskies.

“People can’t guard A’Jah without double or triple-teaming her,” Poisson said. “That just adds to our offense, and she’s really good at kicking the ball out and that was no different tonight. I think we were just a little more hot from the three than we have been, and so that’s the result.”

NIU senior forward A’Jah Davis goes for a layup in the second period of the Huskies’ game on Thursday against the Western Illinois University Leathernecks at the NIU Convocation Center. (Nyla Owens)

This is NIU’s second straight season starting 3-1. After winning three games last year, the Huskies proceeded to lose six straight games. Carlsen said she believes last year’s slump after the 3-1 start was due to the team being unable to stay healthy.

“If we keep everyone healthy, I feel good about the product we can put on the floor,” Carlsen said. “This is a very confident and driven group, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes. If it takes Janae going out there and scoring 30 some nights, that’s great, but if it takes her going out and not scoring 30 and being great on the defensive end and somebody else picking up the slack, they’re OK with that too. I think that’s what makes this team really special. They really don’t care about who gets the credit, they really care about the score at the end.”

The Huskies will start their road trip at 3 p.m. Tuesday when they compete against the University of Detroit Mercy at Calihan Hall in Detroit, Michigan. Watch live on ESPN+ or listen over the radio/online on WDKB 94-9 FM. View live stats on SIDEARM Sports.