Guard puts up 33 points in win

By Eddie Garcia

DeKALB — After six lead changes and four ties in the fourth quarter, the women’s basketball team battled past the Miami University Redhawks, 63-61, to give NIU the season sweep.

Senior guard Ally Lehman ignited the offense as she scored the team’s first nine points with six and a half minutes remaining in the second quarter.

“They had a tough time guarding her in the lane, and she was able to get to the basket,” Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said. “We knew in the stretch when it was tight that we needed the ball in her hands, and obviously, she did a great job in helping us get an opportunity to win.”

Lehman scored 15 total first-half points along seven rebounds as she led the team to a 29-20 halftime lead. The senior guard finished the game with 33 points and 8 rebounds as it was her fifth game finishing with 20 or more points.

It was a slow start for the Huskies (18-6, 11-2 Mid-American Conference) as they went 4-for-20 from the field in the first quarter. Despite a poor shooting performance, NIU led the boards early on as the Huskies reeled in 16 first quarter rebounds.

Lehman was named MAC player of the week for an NIU record fourth time this season as she averaged 30 points, nearly 12 rebounds and eight assists in the time period.

Carlsen said every great team has someone who can do something with the basketball in key moments, and she feels comfortable with Lehman in that role.

The Huskies turned defense into offense as they forced 19 Redhawk turnovers for 15 points. NIU went 0-for-8 from behind the arc on 12-for-39, shooting from the field headed into half time.

With nearly nine minutes remaining in the game, Miami sophomore guard Kendall McCoy hit a game-tying three-point field goal. McCoy scored the teams first 10 points in the quarter as she finished the game with a double-double 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Miami (9-17, 3-10 MAC) took a 53-49 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the fourth as NIU committed 15 total turnovers, which turned into eight points for the Redhawks.

It was a scoring skirmish in the final two minutes as the game finished with nine total lead changes. The Redhawks were within two points with 12 seconds remaining as a last-second three-point attempt by McCoy was no good to give NIU its seventh consecutive win on the road and eighth road win of the season.

The Huskies have a tough schedule ahead of them as they look to take on the Ball State University Cardinals (17-8, 10-3 MAC) 1 p.m. Saturday at the Convocation Center.