Women’s hoops to play Western Michigan in last regular season game

By Eli Gehn

NIU women’s basketball will play its last regular season matchup today against Western Michigan.

The Huskies (12-15, 6-9 MAC) defeated the Broncos (7-20, 4-10 MAC) 53-41 in January, which ended a six-game losing streak.

NIU is currently on a three-game losing streak, but hopes a victory will give it momentum once the MAC tournament begins Saturday.

“I feel like I have faith in this team that we can get it going,” said NIU senior guard Courtney Shelton. “If we can get a good win going into tournament time, we can be in good shape.”

Shelton said the team has grown together tremendously since it last played Western Michigan.

Ever since that victory, the Huskies won five of seven games before losing three straight after losing freshman forward Claire Jakubicek to an injury.

Despite not having Jakubicek in the lineup, NIU coach Kathi Bennett said she feels comfortable with forwards Shaakira Haywood and Natecia Augusta stepping up.

“Since Claire went down, it was going to take some time for us to get a rotation and get comfortable with that,” Bennett said. “It was nice to see Shaakira and Natecia come in and give us some really good minutes. I’m excited to see from here on out how that’s going to play out because I saw some really positive things.”

As it has all year long, NIU is making it a main focus to stay poised on the defensive end.

The Broncos have the talent to hit the three-ball. Western Michigan can make it a key task to penetrate the inside lanes in order to kick the ball out to their three-point shooters.

The Huskies expect nothing different from Western Michigan heading into today’s game.

“We have specific assignments that we really got to follow through,” Bennett said. “And if we execute, then we’re in business.”