Women’s Basketball splits two over the weekend

By Justin Kelley

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team played in the Southern Illinois University Compass Challenge over the weekend, splitting two games, losing to SIU and beating Western Illinois University.

Game No. 1:

The Huskies lost to the SIU Salukis 82-73 Friday. This game marked the Huskies’ first contest playing without injured key players senior Courtney Woods, junior Jonae Possion and sophomore Errin Hodges.

Head Coach Lisa Carlsen talked about the effects these injuries can have on the team.

Related: Women’s Basketball Star Courtney Woods out for season

“We have to get comfortable with our new identity, but I told the kids if you trust the process then I feel like it’s next person up,” Carlsen said.

The Huskies started the game off slow as they were on the wrong side of an 11-4 run by the Salukis. Sophomore Gabby Nikitinaite scored four points and had two assists in the first quarter.

Two free-throws from Nikitinaite tied the game at 19-19 early in the second quarter. Senior guard Mikayla Voigt went 3-5 from the field and scored nine points in the quarter. The Huskies ended the half down 42-40.

The Huskies took the lead in the third quarter off a Nikitanite three-pointer with a little over three minutes to go. Nikitinaite had career highs in points and rebounds, scoring 27 and grabbing six boards.

The Huskies did not hold the lead long. In the fourth quarter the Salukis made seven three-pointers to regain the lead for good. The Huskies struggled in the final quarter, shooting only 33.3 percent from the field.

Game No. 2:

Following the loss to the Salukis, the Huskies beat the Western Illinois University Leathernecks 86-61 Saturday. Voigt turned in a historic night, scoring 52 points and setting the new MAC and NIU program scoring record.

The Huskies jumped out to a 12-2 lead to start the game. NIU shot 46.7 percent from the field and went 4-9 from behind the three-point arc.

The Huskies increased the lead in the second quarter when Voigt scored 14 points. NIU’s defense only allowed the Leathernecks to shoot 23.8 percent from the floor and took a 40-24 lead into halftime.

The Leathernecks trimmed the lead to 11 after scoring 17 points in the third quarter. Voight matched the Leathernecks’ scoring output, scoring 17 points of her own and made four three-pointers.

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Head Coach Lisa Carlsen was extremely impressed by Voigts performance.

“[Voigt] had one of those games where she made it look really easy,” Carlsen said. “The team did a great job of finding her, and it seemed like every time, she scored.”

NIU broke the game open in the fourth quarter, shooting 47.6 percent from the field and three of seven from three-point territory.

The Huskies’ next game is against the Eastern Illinois University Panthers 5:30 p.m. Dec. 17 in the Convocation Center.