Turnovers spell trouble for Huskies against Ohio

Sophomore+guard+Chelby+Koker+%28left%29+drives+past+two+defenders+Nov.+25%2C+during+NIU%27s+85-61+loss+to+IUPUI+at+the+NIU+Convocation+Center+in+DeKalb%2C+Illinois.+Koker+scored+a+career-high+21+points+in+NIU%27s+season+opener.

Patrick Murphy

Sophomore guard Chelby Koker (left) drives past two defenders Nov. 25, during NIU’s 85-61 loss to IUPUI at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb, Illinois. Koker scored a career-high 21 points in NIU’s season opener.

Justin Kelley, Reporter

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team drops to 2-4 on the season after a 77-67 loss to the Ohio University Bobcats Wednesday. NIU had issues with the Bobcats smothering defense, which forced NIU into 13 first half turnovers.

The Huskies also had issues containing senior guard Cece Hooks who scored 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Hooks currently leads the Mid-American Conference in points per game, averaging 24.8 points.

Ohio received contributions from senior forward Gabby Burris and redshirt junior guard Erica Johnson. Burris scored 11 points and grabbed five boards for the Bobcats, while Johnson had 11 points with seven assists.

NIU’s top performer was sophomore guard Chelby Koker with 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The Huskies also received contributions from redshirt guard Janae Possion and sophomore forward A’Jah Davis.

Possion scored 12 points off the bench for the Huskies, while Davis scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Davis has been a key factor in NIU’s ability to control the boards where she has grabbed 24 rebounds in the last three games.

OU jumped out to a 10-5 lead early in the first quarter after knocking down four of their first five shots in the quarter. The Bobcat defense gave the Huskies fits in the first quarter, forcing seven turnovers that turned into seven points for OU.

Late in the first quarter NIU was able to cut the deficit to 12-11, after a 6-2 scoring run capped off by a 3-pointer by Possion. Then, with a little over a minute left in the first quarter NIU took the lead 14-12 after a 3-pointer by Koker.

NIU took a 16-15 lead after the first quarter led by Possion and Koker with six points each. OU’s top performer in the first quarter was Hooks with seven points and one rebound.

The Bobcats retook the lead 17-16 early in the second quarter after a free throw by redshirt first-year guard Madi Mace. Once again the Bobcat defense gave NIU trouble in the second quarter forcing six turnovers that led to 14 points for OU. 

NIU was able to hang with the Bobcats, as they retook the lead 22-21 after a 3-pointer by Koker. The Huskie lead did not last long, as the Bobcats retook the lead 26-24 after a layup by Burris.

Ohio would maintain the lead for the remainder of the second quarter and took a 33-31 lead into halftime. Ohio was led by Hooks and Jonson with five points each, while NIU’s top performer was Koker with five points.

Both teams battled for control early in the third quarter, as there were four lead changes in the first three minutes of play. Ohio took a 41-37 lead after a layup by Hooks with a little over six minutes left to play. 

From that point on it was all Bobcats in the third quarter as the team shot 52.6% from the floor and scored 27 points. NIU did not fare as well as they only made 38.1% of their attempts from the floor.

Ohio took a 60-50 lead after the third quarter led by Hooks with 12 points and three rebounds. NIU’s top performer in the third quarter was Davis with six points and one offensive rebound.

The Bobcats extended their lead to 69-56 early in the third quarter, after a layup by Mace. NIU was able to cut that deficit down to 72-62 after a free-throw by Koker with under three minutes of play.

Though the Huskies last push was not enough,the Bobcats went on to win 77-67.

NIU’s next game is 2 p.m. Sunday against the Michigan State University Spartans in East Lansing, MI. That game can be viewed on ESPN3.

The Huskies next home game is 1 p.m Jan. 2 against the Western Michigan University Broncos at the Convocation Center.