Turnovers sink women’s basketball in Ypsilanti


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

By Justin Kelley

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team drops to 5-13 on the year, after a 62-55 loss to the Easten Michigan University Eagles on Saturday. 

NIU struggled with ball control throughout the game, giving up 21 turnovers.

EMU took full advantage, scoring 17 points off those miscues. NIU is currently ranked last in the Mid-American Conference in turnovers per game, averaging 18.4 in 18 games.

The Eagles had their own ball control issues in the game, turning the ball over 18 times, which allowed NIU to score six points.

Redshirt senior forward Courtney Woods was NIU’s top performer, scoring a season-high 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Woods scored a majority of those points in the first half, with seven in the first quarter and ten in the second quarter.

In the second half, EMU made adjustments to slow Woods down which held her to 10 points for the remaining two quarters. 

“We tried to get her the ball basically throughout the whole game, obviously she was for sure their focal point… going into the game, but in the second half as well,” Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said. “She made some tough shots and still got touches, but I thought they did a little better job defensively in not losing her. Like I say, when that happens it’s important when other kids get good looks we need to give [Woods] some help shooting the ball in the basket.”  

Outside of Woods’ production, NIU received little from the remaining starters and bench. First-year forward A’Jah Davis was the only other player to produce scoring seven points in 11 minutes of play.

“I really think we struggled to find a secondary scorer,” Carlsen said. [Woods] had a great game offensively, but we needed to find somebody else to get in rhythm. We gave away too many possessions, 21 turnovers is too many. A lot of that is EMU, they do a great job of turning people over.” 

It was the complete opposite for EMU as nine of their 10 players recorded a point in the game.

EMU’s top performer was junior center Autumn Hudson with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Eagles also received contributions from redshirt junior guard Areanna Combs with 10 points.

“Well I think especially when you play [Hudson] you have to keep her away from the basket,” Carlsen said. “If you don’t work early she’s too big and strong to move her around when she’s underneath the basket. So when she gets deep position on offense or on the glass not too many people are going to move her, so she was in position for her to be successful tonight.”

NIU jumped out to take a 10-4 lead early in the first quarter, knocking down 50% of their shots through the first six minutes of the quarter. The Huskies hot start did not continue through the quarter as they only made one shot the remaining four minutes.

EMU took full advantage of NIU’s miscues, going on a 13-5 scoring run for a 17-15 lead after the first quarter. EMU was led by junior guard Courtnie Lewis with seven points and two rebounds.

NIU’s top performer in the first quarter was redshirt senior forward Courtney Woods with 10 points and grabbed two rebounds.

Both teams struggled with ball control at the start of the second quarter combining for seven turnovers in the first five minutes. NIU was able to battle through the ball handling issues to out-score EMU 15-12 and take a 30-29 lead after the second quarter.

Woods led the way for NIU in the second quarter scoring seven points and grabbing three rebounds. EMU’s top performer was first-year guard Aaliyah Stanley with six points. 

The second half started off slowly for both teams as neither made a basket through two plus minutes of action in the third quarter. NIU junior forward Riley Blackwell ended the scoring drought making two free throws and extended NIU’s lead to 32-29.

The ball handling issues continued for each team in the third quarter as they combined for six turnovers in the quarter.  EMU was able to ride the storm and retake the lead 42-39 on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Jenna Annecchiarico.

EMU took a 46-44 lead after the third quarter, led by Combs with six points, while NIU’s top performer in the third quarter was Woods with five points.

NIU had its chances to tie the game in the fourth quarter, but only made 27.8% of their shot attempts and turned the ball over six times. EMU had its own struggles scoring only making 30.8% of their shot attempts. 

EMU would go on to defeat NIU 62-55, led by Annecchiarico with six points. NIU’s top performer in the fourth quarter was Woods with five points.

NIU’s next game will be noon Saturday against the University at Buffalo Bulls at the Convocation Center.