Huskies upset Ball State, halt Cardinals’ winning streak


Alyssa Queen

Senior guard Chelby Koker shooting a free throw in Saturday’s upset victory over Ball State University. (Alyssa Queen)

By Eddie Miller, Assistant Sports Editor

DeKALB – NIU women’s basketball (14-11, 6-8 MAC) upset the No. 1 ranked team in the Mid-American Conference for the second consecutive game, beating Ball State University (22-5, 12-2 MAC) by a final score of 84-77. 

Coming off an 85-81 win against Bowling Green State University (23-3, 12-2 MAC), the Huskies were able to secure its second upset of the week with help from senior guard Chelby Koker, senior forward A’Jah Davis and redshirt sophomore guard Sidney McCrea. The Huskies held the lead for 34 minutes and 33 seconds, compared to Ball State’s one minute and 15 seconds. 

“I like where our team is at right now. I think we have a really good understanding of the game plan. I think we’re locked into what we need to do,” NIU women’s basketball head coach Lisa Carlsen said. “You know, it’s somebody different, not just each game, but in each situation and I think that’s what makes us so dangerous.” 

The Huskies made 16 shots from the field in the first half – seven being three-pointers. Koker, who scored 20 points in the first half, knocked down four three-pointers on five attempts. 

“I think the way that our team has recently started moving the ball has just been so helpful,” Koker said. “I think with everybody shooting, everybody’s numbers have gone up.” 

Good rebounding and a strong defensive performance in the first half also helped the Huskies. NIU had four steals in the first half, three from Davis and one from junior guard Jayden Marable. Davis grabbed 10 rebounds, helping the Huskies to a 19-12 rebound advantage in the first half. 

NIU struggled to start the second half, shooting only 35.7% from the field and not making a three-pointer in the third quarter. The Huskies could not get shots to fall, which led to Ball State taking their first lead of the half. 

The Huskies regained the lead just before the end of the third quarter when sophomore forward Laura Nickel was able to make a last second layup to give the Huskies a 56-54 lead. Nickel had an efficient game totaling six assists and scoring eight points, shooting 80% from the line. 

“Every night I just go out there and do my role. Really attacking the paint and being aggressive,” Nickel said. “That leads to, again, those kick out threes or post entry passes. And I think that just really facilitates our offense to get that ball movement.”


In the fourth quarter, NIU shot 87.5% from the field, propelling the Huskies to the win. McCrea made two three-pointers and graduate guard Janae Poisson made one three-pointer to help the Huskies shoot 75% from three in the fourth quarter. 

Next, the Huskies face off against Miami University. The game will be played at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Oxford, Ohio. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPN+ and live stats will be on SidearmSports.