Huskies drop fourth consecutive game

By Eddie Garcia

DeKalb — The women’s basketball team (10-8, 2-4 Mid-American Conference) hosted Eastern Michigan University (9-9, 5-2 MAC) in its first ever Star Wars game day at the Convocation Center.

The force ended on the dark side, as the Huskies extended their losing streak to four straight games with an 83-76 loss to the Eagles.

“I think sometimes a little bit of a slow start is just each team trying to feel each other out,” said Head Coach Lisa Carlsen. “Eastern is different than a lot of the teams that we’ve played lately, and I think it just took us a little bit to try and get a feel for what that was going to be like.”

Junior guard Courtney Woods did not waste any time on offense, as she exploded right out of the gates for a perfect 6-for-6 from the field until 4:21 remaining in the second quarter. Woods finished with a game-high 31 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

This was one of Woods’ best overall performances on the season, as she shot 48 percent on 10-of-21 shooting from the field.

Woods said she was happy with her performance overall but was upset with herself that she couldn’t deliver important baskets down the stretch.

“I think I did my job toward the beginning,” Woods said. “I think we all had lapses on defense and doing my role isn’t really enough if we are not winning games. There are definitely places where I need to impact games more or [how] I went cold at the end, and as a junior I just can’t do that.”

The Huskies shot 50 percent from the field in the first half but fell victim to turnovers, as they were down 37-35 heading into the final 20 minutes of the game.

NIU had a hard time controlling the ball, allowing 14 points off of nine turnovers in the first half.

“Obviously it is something we talk about all the time, and it is something we work on all the time, but most of the time if you tell me we are only going to turn it over 13 times, I am going to be ok with that,” Carlsen said. “In the second half, we did a much better job of not turning it over and having an opportunity [to score].”

Junior guard Mikayla Voigt sat down for the first time with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Voigt struggled on offense, as she went scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting from the field until making her first shot with 47.4 seconds remaining in the game.

Fatigue may have played a role in her performance as she averages a team-high 36.3 minutes a game on the season.

NIU struggled on defense down the stretch, especially in the third quarter where Eastern Michigan shot 86.7 percent.

“Credit Eastern Michigan, I thought they did a great job of getting comfortable offensively,” Carlsen said. “Anytime you let a team shoot almost 87 percent in a quarter, you’re asking for trouble.”

The Huskies’ lack of depth played a role in the loss, as the Eagles bench outscored NIU’s 16-5.

Eastern Michigan played 11 of its 13 players while NIU only had eight players who saw time on the court.

“When it comes down to it, it’s about kids making plays and they just had more kids make plays and more offense today than we did,” Carlsen said.

The Huskies will look to end their four-game losing streak against Ohio University 6 p.m. Wednesday in Athens, Ohio.