Women’s basketball should remain patient

Womens basketball should remain patient

By Christopher Loggins

Hopes were high for women’s basketball with the hire of head coach Lisa Carlsen this season, but the experiment has not worked well in her first year at the helm.

The Huskies opened the season beating Wisconsin Lutheran College 69-42 on Nov. 17 and followed up with a 16-point victory over Eastern Illinois University on Nov. 24. They won three of their first four games by double figures and two of them by at least 20 points, looking like a team that was ready to turn the corner and build a winning culture.

The team’s peak came when it went on a four-game win streak in late December, but a lot of its early wins came against lesser competition. The Huskies began to struggle once conference play began, going on a seven-game losing streak after winning their first MAC game against the University of Akron on Jan. 2.

I wasn’t expecting a drastic change in NIU’s fortune in just one year, but I didn’t expect the team to collapse this badly after such a promising start. The team has failed to compete in many games as of late and seems to lack any true confidence on the floor. 20-point losses have become a common occurrence and the Huskies have won just three of their last 13 games. They’ve lost games by a 10-point margin and haven’t played well consistently on either side of the floor

“I am realistic to know that things can’t necessarily change overnight,” Carlsen said prior to the season, according to an NIU Athletics news release. “But I do think that we could take huge strides in a short amount of time and a lot of that is attributed to our staff and our players because I think they have bought in, and they have and share that same visions that I have as far as the culture that were trying to develop here.”

NIU ranks toward the bottom of the MAC in many offensive and defensive categories, leading to the 4-11 conference record it currently holds. One of the only positives for the team is its home record – the Huskies are 6-5 at home compared to 3-9 on the road.

Carlsen’s team is going to have to start giving a better effort on the defensive end if it plans on being successful. There are going to be nights where shots don’t fall on offense despite how well you move the ball, but there can’t be so many nights where the defense is nonexistent.

Carlsen should be confident in much of her young talent going forward. Sophomore forward Kelly Smith, junior guard Ally Lehman, freshman guard Mikayla Voigt and redshirt junior forward Cassidy Glenn are a solid core for this team and all have a ton of talent.