Women’s basketball defeats Western Michigan for first MAC win of season


Erik Anderson | Northern Star

By Eli Gehn

NIU women’s basketball chalked up its first MAC win of the season Thursday against Western Michigan.

On top of getting their first conference win, the Huskies (7-10, 1-4 MAC) also ended a six-game losing streak when they took down the Broncos (5-12, 2-4 MAC) 53-41.

NIU coach Kathi Bennett was pleased to see her team end their losing streak and expects them to play better moving forward.

“It feels good to win and get that off our back,” said NIU coach Kathi Bennett. “Hopefully it can free us up to play a little bit better because I think we were really tight from that.”

The Huskies stout defense forced the Broncos to shoot just 3 for 25 from beyond the arc and turn the ball over 22 times.

But NIU would struggle in those statistical categories as well, as the Broncos forced to turn the ball over 19 times while playing good enough defense on the perimeter, as the Huskies connected on one of eight attempt from long distance.

Bennett believes the Huskies will need to limit their turnovers moving forward.

“I didn’t feel like they played great pressure defense,” Bennett said. “A lot of times we stop ourselves… and to beat the good teams, we’re going to have to get better at.”

Shooting 80 percent from the free throw line, the Huskies didn’t hurt their chances of coming out on top when the final buzzer went off. NIU has averaged 70 percent from the line this season and Bennett was happy to see her team hit the pressure free throws to close out the game.

Freshman forward Claire Jakubicek has continued to help out the Huskies with her play. Jakubicek was six-for-six from the free throw line in crucial moments and finished the game with 10 points and three rebounds.

“Claire is an amazing player,” said NIU forward Kim Davis. “She knows how to use her body to get position and she definitely has a shot on the outside. So she’s really hard to guard and she finishes strong.”

Davis was one of three Huskies to score double digit points against the Broncos with 10.

Amanda Corral led NIU with 15 points in Thursday’s contest with a game-high of 38 minutes played.

Western Michigan couldn’t find any sort of rhythm against the Huskies. They shot 28 percent from the field and didn’t have a player with double digit scoring.

“Northern Illinois did a great job executing their defensive game plan, and my team didn’t respond very well,” said Western Michigan coach Tasha McDowell in a press release. “You can boil it down to every stat you want to, but we did not come out ready to play tonight and the energy just wasn’t there.”