Huskies open season with exhibition victory

By Justin Kelley

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team returned Saturday to defeat the University of St. Francis 59-54. The game was an exhibition match for the Huskies but had some importance due to key players like junior and sophomore guards Myia Starks and Janae Poisson coming off injury.

Starks and Poisson only played in 18 games combined last season.

The Huskies started off slow in the first quarter, shooting 36.4 percent on 11 shots. Although they struggled on offense, Starks went three for four in nine minutes in the first quarter.

While she played a short amount of time, Poisson scored six points and went two for two at the free throw line.

“I was really nervous coming off the bench,” Poisson said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but as the game went on, I felt confident.”

The offensive woes continued when they only shot three for fifteen and went one for six from three-point terrority in the second quarter. Although NIU struggled on offense, they forced St. Francis into 13 turnovers in the half, netting them nine points. The Huskies also took a slight lead into the half 22-20.

“I really think we have grown on the defensive end, and we do a much better job in system of helping each other and on rotation,” Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said.

The Huskies created some separation in the second half, going on a 22-point run started by senior forward Courtney Woods. Woods scored three the old-fashioned way, hitting a layup after being fouled. The defense also performed well, scoring six points on turnovers.

Woods proved her All-Mid-American Conference preseason team worth, helping the Huskies charge past St. Francis.

“Anytime you’re compared to players of that caliber, like the rest of the girls who are great players, it’s an honor,” Woods said.

The Huskies’ offense struggled to score in the fourth quarter, scoring 19 points and allowing St.Francis to tie the game at 49 with a little over six minutes left in the game. The Huskies took back the lead after a three pointer by senior Mikayla Voigt, who scored 19 points in the game. The Huskies iced the game by making free throws down the stretch to win..

The Huskies’ next preseason game is against Yale in the Women’s Preseason NIT 6 p.m. Thursday at the Convention Center.