DeKALB — A tale of two halves, women’s basketball started Saturday’s game strong, but a six-point fourth quarter gave the Huskies their second straight road loss.
NIU lost on the road to the Western Michigan University Broncos 63-50.
“We’ll look back at opportunities we had offensively where we didn’t convert that; especially against a team like Western, and on the road, we have to be better,” Head Coach Lisa Carlsen said in an NIU Athletics news release.
The Huskies shot 50% from the 3-point line in the first quarter, starting the game hot from long range. Senior guard Myia Starks hit two 3-pointers and scored eight of her team-leading 14 points in the first quarter.
The Huskies and Broncos traded baskets for 10 lead changes in the first quarter. Redshirt sophomore guard Jordan Walker scored 12 points for the Broncos, who were down by four at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, neither team let up as the Huskies continued to push the pace, force turnovers and take advantage of open shots. Junior guard Gabby Nikitinaite scored nine of her 12 points in the second, hitting timely 3-pointers to fight against the Broncos’ come back.
Walker continued her hot shooting, increasing her point total to 20 by the end of the first half, allowing the Broncos to tie the game at 35-35.
In the second half, the scoring cooled down for both teams. Western Michigan was the hotter of the two teams, quickly gaining a lead after the half.
The Huskies could not find their rhythm on offense, shooting 18% in the second half and adding only 15 points to their total score.
The defense was able to stand up throughout the half; however, the lack of offense eventually buried the Huskies.
“I don’t fault our effort by any means tonight,” Carlsen said on TuneIn radio. “I thought we played hard; I thought we matched their physicality. Unfortunately, we didn’t score the basketball the way we needed to score the basketball, but I don’t fault our effort [or] toughness.”
Walker finished the game with a career-high 33 points and the Broncos took home a much needed win as the Mid-American Conference Tournament approaches.
The Huskies will return home against the Ball State University Cardinals 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Convocation Center.