Women’s basketball falls to Kent State in season finale


Nyla Owens

NIU graduate forward Emma Carter (24) looks for a pass during the Huskies’ home basketball game against Mid-American Conference rival Miami University at the NIU Convocation Center. (Nyla Owens | Northern Star)

By Eddie Miller, Sports Reporter

DeKALB –Turnovers plagued NIU women’s basketball (16-3, 8-10 MAC) in a 73-58 loss to Kent State University (20-9,12-6 MAC).

Despite the loss, NIU clinched the No. 5 seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

Kent State was in control of the game for the entire 40 minutes with NIU only holding the lead once in the first quarter. The Golden Flashes had 13 three-pointers compared to the Huskies’ eight. 

The Huskies struggled to hold possession of the ball, turning the ball over 15 times leading to 19 points for Kent State off turnovers.

“Against a team as good – especially defensively – as you can’t turn the ball over and have that kind of a destructive discrepancy,” NIU women’s basketball head coach Lisa Carlsen said. “We also can’t give up a lot of offensive boards in our adjustments to them getting hot from behind the arc. All of those are things that in my opinion are controllable factors.”

The game started off close with NIU holding an 8-7 lead early. A string of five turnovers in the first quarter helped Kent State pull ahead. By the end of the first quarter, the Golden Flashes stretched the lead to 20-13. 

To open the second quarter, the Huskies went on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to one point. After the run, the Huskie offense went cold, only scoring two more points before halftime. This helped  Kent State to a 30-26 lead at halftime.

Coming out of halftime, Kent State went on a 6-0 run after a back and forth first seven minutes of the quarter. Three-pointers from Kent State senior forward Lindsey Thall, junior guard Casey Santoro and a buzzer beater from senior guard Clare Kelly gave Kent State a 52-38 lead after the third quarter.

Going into the fourth quarter, graduate student guard Janae Poisson caught fire. In the first three quarters, Poisson only mustered two points, but then scored NIU’s first 10 points of the final quarter to help get NIU within nine. 

“You try to keep shooting,” Poisson said. “As a shooter that’s always your philosophy – is to keep shooting and I knew this when my team needed just to try and meet a spark off the bench.”

Poisson led the Huskies in scoring with 12 points. Despite Poisson’s scoring effort, the Huskies could not catch the Golden Flashes. A pair of three-pointers from Santoro helped seal the 73-58 win for Kent State.

The Huskies will next head to the MAC tournament. NIU is the fifth seed and will have a rematch with Kent State at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. 

The game will be streamed on ESPN+, live stats will be available on SidearmSports.