NIU women’s basketball drops third straight game in loss to Central Michigan

By Quentin Wilson

DeKALB — Women’s basketball lost a nailbiter to the Central Michigan University Chippewas 70-66 for its third straight loss. 

“I felt like we had our chances against a really good Central Michigan team,” Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said. “I thought we were able to kinda keep them off balance on the offensive end, which I think is critical when you play Central. It came down to the last few possessions. We did some good things. There are some possessions we would want back.” 

Redshirt senior guard Courtney Woods led the Huskies, recording a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. First-year Chelby Koker was the Huskies’ second leading scorer with 14 points off the bench. 

In the first quarter NIU shared the ball well, as six Huskies scored a bucket to help keep the score close as the quarter ended with a 16-14 score. 

Junior forward Kyra Bussell scored 11 of her 25 points in the first quarter to push the Chippewas on top. Bussell also had a double-double on the day, adding 11 rebounds to her stat sheet.

Senior guard Myia Starks hit a mid-range jumpshot to tie the game at 16 in the second quarter. CMU responded with a 12-4 scoring run to give them an eight-point lead. 

Koker scored nine points in the second quarter to help lead a comeback. Her layup with 45 seconds left in the half tied the game at 33.

“I think the thing that is a little bit unique about this team is there are matchups and skill sets that we are looking for during a course of a ballgame that change,” Carlsen said. “We have a roster of 14 kids that really understand that, and I think that’s what makes us sometimes unique and hard to guard.”

After the half, the Chippawas came out with momentum during the third quarter. 

CMU went on a 16-6 scoring run to increase its lead to ten points before the Huskies were able to trim it down to six by the end of the quarter.

In the fourth quarter both teams ramped up its offense for the highest scoring quarter. Woods started to find herself, scoring 17 points in the quarter to give her team a chance at winning. 

On a fastbreak, Woods finished a layup after receiving a pass from Koker to cut the Chippewas’ lead down to two points with 55 seconds left. 

Bussell scored 10 points in the quarter to keep Central Michigan on top. 

The Chippewas iced the game, hitting clutch free throws until the end.

“I think [Bussell] played a great game against us both times,” Carlsen said. “I felt like she had to earn her 25 points.”

The Huskies’ next game will be against Eastern Michigan University Eagles 6 p.m Wednesday at the Convocation Center.