Women’s basketball takes hard-fought victory over Western Michigan

By Justin Kelley

Women’s basketball squeezed out a 74-71 win over Western Michigan University Saturday to finish the regular season with an overall record of 18-12 and going 10-8 in Mid-American Conference play.

Sophomore guard Errin Hodges was key for the Huskies scoring eight points and grabbing three steals off the bench. Hodges missed the previous three games after entering concussion protocol after the Feb. 23 Central Michigan game.

Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said how important Hodges was guarding WMU’s senior guard Deja Wimby.

“She’s such a difference maker on the defensive end,” Carlsen said. “With her athleticism and length it was a difference from the first time we played them, [she gave us] important minutes guarding Deja.”

The Huskies got off to a hot shooting start, making 46.2 percent of their attempts from the field in the first. NIU didn’t have similar success on defense allowing WMU to shoot 50 percent from the field in the quarter.

Senior guard Mikayla Voigt led the Huskies in scoring with five points in the first quarter as the down a point 19-18.

The Huskies’ offense slowed in the second quarter only making 23.1 percent of their shots from the field. Unlike NIU, the Broncos’ offense saw continued success knocking down 40 percent of their shots in the quarter.

Junior forward Ally May led  the Huskies on the boards grabbing four rebounds in the second.

NIU’s poor shooting allowed the Broncos to take an eight point lead into halftime 35-27.

The Huskies closed the deficit to three in the third knocking down 53.8 percent of their shots from the field. NIU’s defense came up big in the quarter allowing WMU to make five shots on 13 attempts.

Voigt led the Huskies in scoring in the third with eight points while grabbing one rebound.

NIU took the game over in the fourth quarter scoring 26 points on 50 percent shooting from the field. WMU’s shooting woes continued  making only five shots from the floor for the second consecutive quarter. The Broncos shot 12.5 percent from three point territory in the final quarter.

NIU’s offense was led by Voigt, scoring 13 points as she knocked down seven of her 10 free throws in the quarter. Her scoring efforts down the stretch helped hold off WMU and lead the Huskies to their tenth conference win on the season, 74-71.

Voigt scored a game-high 26 points and went 10 of 13 from the free throw line, while playing every minute of the game.

Carlsen said Voigt needs to be a key factor in her team’s offense in order to play at their full potential.

“For us to be successful that’s got to happen, you know [Voigt] she influences the game in a lot of different ways.” Carlsen said

The Huskies will host WMU in the first round of the MAC Tournament in a rematch of the regular season finale. The matchup is slated for 5:30 p.m Monday at the Convocation Center.