Women’s basketball plays hard, falls by a point to Jackrabbits

By Jacob Onak

In its regular season home opener NIU women’s basketball put in a strong performance but fell short, losing to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, 59-58, Wednesday.

The Huskies got off to a quick start in the first three minutes of the game, going on a six to zero run, but the Jackrabbits got themselves back into the game, tying the match up 9-9 with 15 minutes left to play in the first half.

The game continued to remain even until the final two minutes of the first half, when the Jackrabbits got off to their biggest lead of the game, going up seven points to make it 23-30.

The first half ended with South Dakota State up 30-26 thanks to strong play from senior forward Leah Dietel. Dietel went four for four in the first half with nine total points and three rebounds in 16 minutes of play.

Senior guard Satavia Taylor had a good half for the Huskies with eight points in 14 minutes, but it was the turnovers that hurt NIU in the first half, as they garnered 11 points for the Jackrabbits.

The second half was more of the same for the Huskies, but they were only in the lead twice in the half and both those times were only by one point.

The Huskies ultimately fell 59-58 but had a lot to be proud of. It was a team effort as the NIU bench put in 19 points, 17 coming in the second half alone.

Redshirt sophomore forward Jada Buggs had a strong game for NIU going six of eight from the field with 16 total points in her 32 minutes of play.

Coach Kathi Bennett said she is excited to see what the transfer from the University of Wisconsin has in her future.

“She’s [Buggs] a very special player,” Bennett said in a news conference. “You can just see our future with her and all the young players we are playing right now.”

Bennett could not have been more proud of the way her team played despite the result.

“I can’t say enough about how hard we fought,” Bennett said in a news conference. “It’s a very disappointing loss, but they had to beat us. We fought with everything we had, but they are a veteran team. They’ve been to the NCAA Tournament multiple years and just beat 15th-ranked Nebraska. We knew it’d be a tough game. I am proud of the team.”