Women’s basketball falls to Big-10 Hawkeyes

By Krystal Megan

Women’s basketball suffered its first loss of the season when it faced the University of Iowa Hawkeyes from the Big-10 Conference Wednesday.

NIU (1-1) battled but fell to the Hawkeyes 105-80 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes extended their series lead over the Huskies to 12-8, with NIU’s last win against Iowa being on Jan. 25, 1994.

“I thought we did a good job coming out ready to play,” Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said. “Eventually, I think [Iowa’s] size was the difference, and we had some breakdowns in defensive transition in the second half that really hurt us, but we had some kids do some good things, and I think it’s something that we can learn from and grow from.”

The Huskies had a hard time stopping the Hawkeyes starting post players, as they scored 40 percent of Iowa’s points. Megan Gustafson, Iowa junior forward and Big-10 Player of the Week, led the team with 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field. Senior forward Chase Coley was right behind her teammate with 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field.

Carlsen said the team knew Iowa’s post players, especially the starters, were going to be a lot to handle because the Huskies don’t have the size the Hawkeyes have.

“[Gustafson and Coley] are both really good, and they’re both about six [feet and] three [inches] and long, so just their size alone is something we don’t have,” Carlsen said. “We tried a couple different things as far as doubling and a little bit of zone, but ultimately they were really able to kind of dominate the paint.”

NIU shot 38.1 percent from the field, while the Hawkeyes’ shot an even 60 percent.

Junior guard Courtney Woods led the Huskies with 20 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the field. Woods went 4-for-9 from the 3-point line and collected seven rebounds, including four offensive rebounds.

Sophomore guard Janae Poisson led the Huskies’ bench with 18 points on 7-for-18 shooting from the field. Freshman guards Gabby Nikitinaite and Errin Hodges combined for 17 points off the bench. Nikitinaite shot 43 percent from beyond the arc.

Carlsen said Woods, especially in the beginning of the game, shot the ball well, along with Poisson and Nikitinaite having good scoring runs.

“I think those are some of the highlights [of the game],” Carlsen said. “We had kids really battle. We didn’t lay down, [and] we weren’t intimidated. Iowa was just a better team and bigger, and sometimes that’s what you get when you play Big-10 teams.”

The Huskies will return to action 1 p.m. Saturday when they take on Western Illinois University at the Convocation Center.