Huskies earn first MAC win of season against WMU

Jayden Marable scores career-high 14 points

Entrance+2+of+the+NIU+Convocation+Center+Sept.+2%2C+in+DeKalb%2C+Illinois.

Patrick Murphy | Northern Star

Entrance 2 of the NIU Convocation Center Sept. 2, in DeKalb, Illinois.

Justin Kelley, Reporter

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team ends its three-game losing streak after its first Mid-American Conference win, defeating the Western Michigan University Broncos Saturday, 73-56.

NIU secured the win off stellar performances from sophomore guard Chelby Koker and first-year guard Jayden Marable. Koker led the Huskies in scoring with 21 points, while Marable scored a career-high 14 points.

WMU’s top performer was redshirt first-year guard Megan Wagner with 13 points and four rebounds. The Broncos also got contributions from redshirt forward Taylor Williams scoring 12 points.

The Huskies controlled the boards throughout the game, grabbing a season-high 54 rebounds. Senior forward Mikalya Brandon and Davis were the top rebounders for NIU, grabbing 21 rebounds combined.

NIU’s rebounding success led to 11 second chance points and helped them control the pace of the game.

Both teams struggled with scoring early in the first quarter. They only combined for nine points through five minutes of play. The Huskies were able to shake off the cobwebs and take a 14-7 lead with a little over four minutes left to play in the quarter.

The Broncos were able to bounce back late in the first quarter and took a 16-14 lead after a 9-0 scoring run. The WMU lead did not last long as NIU stormed back and retook the lead 19-18 after a layup by Marable with :22 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Huskies took a 19-18 lead after the first quarter led by Koker with seven points. WMU’s top performer was Wagner with five points. 

NIU pushed its lead to  27-18 early in the first quarter after a layup by redshirt guard Erin Hodges. The Huskies sustained a double-digit lead throughout the majority of the second quarter after a solid team shooting performance. 

The Huskies shot 38.9% from the field and only allowed WMU to shoot 17.6% from the field in the second quarter. The shooting performance difference was enough for NIU to take a 35-24 lead after the second quarter.

NIU’s top performers in the second quarter were Davis and Koker with four points each. WMU’s top performer was redshirt junior forward Abby Voss with two points and two rebounds, with one offensive rebound.

The Huskies’ momentum carried over into the third quarter, and as a team they posted a 42.9% shooting percentage from the floor. Despite that, WMU was able to cut the deficit down to 40-31 with a little over five minutes left to go in the third quarter.

The momentum swung back to NIU after an 8-2 scoring run, helping the Huskies take a 50-38 lead heading to the fourth quarter. NIU’s top performer was Koker with four points and one assist, while WMU’s top performer was sophomore guard Sydney Shafer with five points.

NIU pushed the lead to 61-41, the largest of the game, early in the fourth quarter after a layup by Davis. The Huskies again had a solid shooting performance from the field as they made 38.5% of their shots.

WMU did not fare as well in the fourth quarter, as they only made 31.3% of their attempts from the floor. Though the Broncos struggled in the fourth quarter, they out-scored NIU 15-12 in the final eight minutes. 

The late push was not enough, and NIU went on to win 73-56. 

The Huskies next game is 1 p.m Wednesday against the Kent State University Golden Flashes in Kent, OH.