Shooting woes sink Huskies in game against Broncos

NIU+sophomore+guards+Grace+Hunter+%28left%29%2C+Chelby+Koker+%28center%29+and+senior+forward+Riley+Blackwell+%28right%29+wait+for+play+to+resume+Feb.+20%2C+during+NIU%27s+69-65+loss+to+Kent+State+University+at+the+NIU+Convocation+Center+in+DeKalb.

Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star

NIU sophomore guards Grace Hunter (left), Chelby Koker (center) and senior forward Riley Blackwell (right) wait for play to resume Feb. 20, during NIU’s 69-65 loss to Kent State University at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb.

Justin Kelley, Reporter

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team falls to 11-10 on the season after an 86-53 loss to the Western Michigan University Broncos Saturday. NIU had a difficult time finding its groove on offense against WMU, shooting 31.6% from the field.

Sophomore guard Chelby Koker was NIU’s leading scorer and its only player to score double digits against the Broncos. Koker scored 25 points with five rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes of play. 

NIU also received contributions from redshirt junior guards Errin Hodges and Janae Poisson. Hodges scored eight points with six rebounds, while Poisson scored six points.

The Broncos, on the other hand, seemed like they could not miss, posting a shooting percentage of 48.6%. Every member of the WMU starting lineup scored double-digit points against NIU.

Sophomore guard Sydney Schaffer led the way for the Broncos with 22 points and seven rebounds. Redshirt first-year forward Taylor Williams tallied 17 points, while redshirt forward Reilly Jacobson and junior guard Maddie Watters added 13 points each.

First-year guard Megan Wanger rounded out the group with 12 points and four assists in 35 minutes of play.

WMU jumped out to a 9-5 lead early in the first quarter after a 3-pointer by Wagner with a little over six minutes left in the quarter. A 3-pointer by Schaffer extended WMU’s lead to 16-5 with a little over four minutes left in the quarter.

The Huskies cut the deficit to 19-11 after a 6-3 scoring run with just under three minutes left in the quarter. The Broncos responded with their own scoring run, outscoring the Huskies 5-0 to end the quarter. 

WMU took a 24-11 lead into the second quarter. Wagner led the Broncos with nine points and one assist. NIU’s top performer was Koker with five points and two rebounds in the first quarter.

The Broncos extended their lead to 32-15 after an 8-4 scoring run early in the second quarter. A layup by Jacobson extended WMU’s lead to 36-15 with a little over six minutes left in the quarter.

NIU would not go down without a fight, cutting the deficit down after a 8-0 scoring run with a little under one minute left in the quarter; the Huskies trailed 41-28.

WMU took a 41-28 lead into halftime led by Jacobson with eight points and one block. NIU’s top performer for the second quarter was Koker with eight points and two rebounds.

The Broncos extended their lead to 51-30 early in the third quarter after a 10-2 scoring run with a little over six minutes left in the quarter. NIU cut the deficit to 51-40 after a 10-0 scoring run with a little over four minutes left in the quarter. 

WMU was able to withstand the Huskies push and extend their lead to 56-40 after a freethrow by Schaffer with a little over three minutes left in the quarter.

The Broncos led 61-43 after the third quarter. Schaffer led the Broncos with eight points and three rebounds. NIU’s top performer for the fourth quarter was Koker with eight points and one rebound.

WMU controlled the game through the fourth quarter, posting a 64.7% shooting percentage as a team. NIU did not have similar success in the fourth quarter as they only scored 10 points, making 21.4% of its shots.

The Broncos went on to win 86-53 and were led by Willams in the fourth quarter with six points and three rebounds. NIU’s top performer in the fourth quarter was Koker with four points.

NIU’s next game is 6 p.m Wednesday against the Eastern Michigan University Eagles at the NIU Convocation Center. This will be the last regular season home game for NIU, as the Mid-American Tournament starts Wednesday March 10. The game will be available on ESPN+.