Women’s basketball takes down Akron


Northern Star File Photo

By Eli Gehn

Battling in close games has been a continuous trend this year for NIU women’s basketball.

The story was no different Wednesday, as the Huskies (8-11, 2-5 MAC) took down Akron (9-12, 3-4 MAC) 72-66 at the Rhodes Arena in Akron, Ohio.

“Our challenge is that we have not been able to stay consistent,” said NIU coach Kathi Bennett. “We want to stay with the same intensity and the same execution that we did tonight.”

NIU picked up its second MAC win of the season against a Zips team that won three of its previous four match ups heading into last night’s game.

Akron looked to have full control to start the contest, leading the Huskies 21-7 halfway through the first half. But NIU flipped the script heading into the locker room, going on a 21-8 run and taking back some momentum as the second half got under way.

“We stayed together and kept fighting,” Bennett said. “We were getting looks when we did get down. I felt like we were really executing offensively, we just weren’t getting it to fall. We stayed aggressive defensively and stayed the course.”

Akron was without its top two scorers in Rachel Tecca, who tore her ACL before conference play began, and Sina King, who was out with a concussion. But sophomore Carly Young would pick up the slack. The sophomore had a game-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds.

Despite not having Tecca and King, the Huskies were still undersized in the post. However, NIU was able to out-rebound the Zips 44-31.

“I think we played our butts off,” Bennett said. “We were flying around. Wherever the ball went, we were. And when you’re doing that, things are going to happen.”

The Huskies were superb from the free throw line, going 26 for 30 as a team, which proved to be vital down the stretch in a tight game.

With the game coming to an end, Akron was forced to put the Huskies at the charity stripe to hang in. NIU Seniors Kim Davis and Courtney Shelton, along with freshman Claire Jakubicek, were able to hit key free throws to seal the victory.

“It was huge,” Bennett said. “It was neat to see that everybody stepped up.”

Jakubicek and fellow freshman Amanda Corral led the charge for NIU, combining for 35 points. Jakubicek and Corral’s performances on the court each night have been big for the Huskies this season.

“It’s awesome,” Shelton said on the play of Jakubicek and Corral. “Both of those girls have definitely stepped up huge this year. They’re almost hitting that stage where they’re not freshmen anymore, they’re coming in as sophomores and they’re playing like it.”