NIU women’s basketball: Huskies’ run in MAC Tournament ends in 1st round

By Frank Gogola

What happened

No. 8 seed women’s basketball’s season came to an abrupt end as it lost to the No. 9 seed Central Michigan Chippewas, 49-44, in the first round of the MAC Tournament on Monday at the Convocation Center.

How it happened

Senior guard Amanda Corral’s step-back 3-pointer from the wing was partially blocked with the Huskies trailing 47-44 and 13 seconds left on the clock. The Huskies had used a 7-0 run prior to Corral’s attempt to pull within three points, their smallest deficit of the second half.

With the Huskies leading 6-4 early on, Central Michigan used a 13-0 run to go ahead 17-6 with 9:38 left in the half. NIU would not see the lead the rest of the game.

The Huskies were muddled in a near-double-digit deficit the rest of the first half as they couldn’t buy a basket, trailing 26-16 at the half. They shot 20 percent (5-for-25) from the field and were blasted on the boards in the opening stanza, being outrebounded 28-15, including 9-1 on the offensive glass.

The offense came somewhat to life in the second half, but the Huskies continued to miss point-blank shots. NIU got as close as three points, 32-29 and 47-44, but couldn’t cut the deficit any further. They shot 28.3 percent (15-53) from the field and were outrebounded 49-32.

The number: 10

The Huskies went a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Their consistency from the charity stripe kept them in the game when the shots from the field weren’t falling.

Northern Star players of the game

Jas’Mine Bracey paved the way for the Chippewas, posting a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. She shot 6-for-9 from the field and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. She was one of three Chippewas to score in double-digits.

NIU sophomore Ally Lehman recorded her third double-double of the year in the season-ending loss. She scored 11 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out five assists, all of which were team highs.