NIU’s comeback falls short despite 17 and 17 night from A’Jah Davis

Redshirt senior forward Courtney Woods Wednesday during NIU’s  85-79 loss to Ohio University at the Convocation Center.

By Quentin Wilson

DeKALB — Despite a good shooting performance, the women’s basketball team suffered its fifth conference loss Wednesday after an 85-79 defeat to the Ohio University Bobcats.

“We had opportunities to really close this gap that we are going to want back,” Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said. “We continue to get better, there’s no doubt about it. There were parts of this game where we were better tonight than we have been in a long time.”

During the first quarter the Huskies found themselves down early after a pair of 3-pointers from Ohio that gave the Bobcats a 6-0 lead. The Huskies came back to take the lead behind first-year forward A’Jah Davis, making a major impact on the glass. Davis grabbed five offensive rebounds that turned into seven second-chance points for the Huskies.

Davis had six points in the quarter while her total rebounds reached eight, quickly breaking her previous career high of six. 

Davis said she is becoming more comfortable in the paint, and her game tonight has made her more confident in her abilities. 

“I know that I can rebound really well; I think I need to show that,” Davis said

The Huskies were able to grab the lead after junior guard Gabby Nikitinaite scored a 3-pointer to put NIU up 19-16. The Bobcats, however, were able to regain the lead with a steal and an and-one layup to put them back on top 21-19 just before the quarter ended.

In the second quarter, the Huskies were first on the board with Davis scoring two layups to put NIU up 23-21. The Bobcats responded by going on an 18-3 point run lead by redshirt sophomore forward Erica Johnson, who scored seven points during the run, giving her 15 points at the half.

Redshirt senior forward Courtney Woods hit a 3-pointer to stop the run with NIU down 39-29. Woods would later trade 3-pointers with the Bobcats to put them down by 12 at the half. 

In the third quarter the Huskies started Nikitinaite over Davis, who already had three fouls at the half. Nikitinaite was able to hit three 3-pointers in the quarter, including one with 16 seconds left which brought the Huskies within five. 

Johnson scored nine points that quarter to help the Bobcats hold the lead, bringing her point total to 24 after the third.

The Huskies continued to fight to recapture the lead in the fourth quarter, but fouls got the better of the Huskies, as the team committed 14 during the quarter, resulting in 20 free throw attempts for the Bobcats. 

Johnson kept the Bobcats afloat by getting to the free-throw line and hitting six of eight attempts in the fourth quarter. Johnson finished the game with 32 points, going 9-16 from the field.

“She is a tough match up for anybody,” Carlsen said. “Overall we did an OK job on her. She is just that talented.”

Woods hit a 3-pointer to bring the Huskies within five points with 40 seconds left, but that was the closest the Huskies would cut the Bobcats’ lead. Woods lead the Huskies in scoring, finishing with 22 points.

Davis, who fouled out in the fourth, finished 17 points to match her 17 rebounds for her first career double-double. 

The Huskies will head out on the road to face off against the Eastern Michigan University Eagles 1 p.m. Saturday inYpsilanti, Michigan. The game will be available on ESPN3.