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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Women’s basketball loses heartbreaker to Akron

Nickel’s game-tying shot rolls off rim as time expires
Tim Dodge
Senior guard Jayden Marable (3) attempts to create space and drive past Akron junior guard Kaia Woods (0). The Huskies and Akron are scheduled to face off again March. 2 in Ohio. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

DeKALB – NIU women’s basketball (9-10, 3-5 MAC) lost in dramatic fashion to the University of Akron (7-11, 2-6 MAC). The back and forth battle ended on a last-second miss from junior guard Laura Nickel that kept the score at 61-59. 

The Huskies came out of the gate creating momentum, making four three-point shots in the first three minutes to put them up 12-4. The Zips slowly fought their way back into the game, leading by 10 at the end of the third quarter.

Junior guard Sidney McCrea and senior forward Brooke Stonebraker made crucial shots down the stretch to bring NIU back into the game. Stonebraker’s 16-point second half and McCrea’s late pair of three-pointers helped put the game back in reach.

The Huskies had the final offensive chance with 23 seconds remaining, missing a dramatic buzzer-beater as the potential tying shot spun out of the hoop, leading to the 10th loss for the Huskies. 

Stonebreaker was the standout performer for the Huskies, as she tied her career high with 20 points, going 4-5 at the free throw line and pulling down 9 rebounds 

“Coach said it has to be a full 40 minutes,” Stonebraker said. “You can’t let up in the first, second, third, fourth quarter.” 

Senior forward Tara Stauffacher scored 11 points with 3 shots made from behind the arc and 5 rebounds. The 5-foot-11-inch forward had her highest point total since Dec. 30. Stauffacher was one of four seniors honored for Senior Day.

“I think that opportunity has been great and I love playing with my teammates and I’m going to miss playing with them next year,” Stauffacher said.

NIU women’s basketball head coach Lisa Carlsen expressed her satisfaction with her team’s mental toughness following a tense loss. 

“Our mentality doesn’t change and that’s another thing that I think this group has a really good handle on,” Carlsen said.

The NIU Huskies’ next game will be on the road against Bowling Green State University at 6 p.m. Wednesday. It can be streamed through ESPN+ or you can listen through on The Varsity Network. Live Stats can be viewed on SIDEARM Stats.

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