Redbirds thaw Huskie comeback in women’s basketball loss to Illinois State


Redshirt senior forward Courtney Woods shoots over two Harvard University opponents Nov. 5 during NIU’s loss to the Crimson 59-53 at the Convocation Center.

By Justin Kelley

DeKALB The women’s basketball team came up a possession short Wednesday against Illinois State University, losing 69-66.

The loss snipped NIU’s chance of keeping a three-winning streak, and now sit 2-1 in their current seven road-game stretch. 

NIU had a chance to tie the game off a missed free throw by Mary Crompton, ISU redshirt first-year guard, with :02 left in the game. The Huskies squandered that opportunity when ISU junior guard Paige Saylor intercepted a pass from NIU sophomore forward Mikayla Brandon to end the game.

ISU was led by their sensational duo of seniors forward Lexi Wallen and guard Tete Maggett. Wallen scored 18 points and five rebounds, while Maggett scored 17 points and 11 rebounds.

The Redbirds also received contributions from several bench players. Crompton scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds. Sophomore guard forward Lexy Koudelka scored seven points in 12 minutes.

NIU got off to a rough start offensively, making only 28.6% of its shots from the field in the first quarter. The Redbirds took full advantage of NIU’s poor shooting performance, as they shot 46.5% from the field and took a 21-10 lead into the second quarter.

Wallen and Koudelka led they way for ISU with seven points each, while NIU relied on junior guard Gabby Nikitinaite with five points.

Both teams went scoreless for nearly four minutes at the start of the second quarter and combined for an 0-8 shooting performance. Wallen broke the scoring drought to extend ISU’s lead to 23-10.

Redshirt senior forward Courtney Woods cut the deficit to five, 28-23, after knocking down a pair of free throws before halftime. 

NIU came storming out to start the second half, shooting lights-out, making 42.9% of its shots from the field. ISU was able to keep up with NIU in the third quarter, scoring 14 points, and a shooting percentage of 35.3.

Late in the third quarter NIU cut the deficit to 48-42, after Woods knocked down two free throws.

Both teams offenses exploded in the fourth quarter combing for 55 points and each team shot over 43.8% from the floor.

With 1:08 left in the fourth quarter, the Huskies cut the lead to one point after a layup from Brandon, though it was too little too late as ISU would knock down six free throws to defeat NIU 69-66.

NIU’s next game is 1 p.m Sunday in West Lafayette, Indiana against the Purdue University Boilermakers.