Huskies end regular season with loss to CMU


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.

By Justin Kelley

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team fell to the Central Michigan University Chippewas 74-68  Saturday. The Huskies had a tale of two halves, allowing a 19-point second quarter lead slip away.

In the first half, NIU was firing on all cylinders as it made 50% of its shots and seven 3-pointers. That trend did not carry over to the second half as NIU only made 28.5% of its shots from the field. 

Outside of the shooting woes in the second half, NIU received a spectacular performance from sophomore guard Chelby Koker. In total, Koker scored 28 points for NIU, with 26 of those points coming in the second half. 

The Huskies also received contributions from redshirt junior guard Janae Poisson and junior forward Mikalya Brandon.

Poisson scored 12 points, while Brandon scored nine points with seven rebounds.

CMU’s top performer was senior guard Micaela Kelly with 25 points, six assists and three rebounds. The Chippewas also received contributions from senior guard Maddy Watters and sophomore guard Molly Davis. 

Davis scored 17 points and knocked down three 3-pointers, while Watters scored 14 points with four 3-pointers.

NIU jumped out to a 12-3 lead early in the first quarter after making its first five shots of the game. CMU cut the deficit down to 12-9 after a 6-0 scoring run finished off by a 3-pointer by Davis.

The Huskies extended their lead to 23-11 after an 11-2 scoring run finished off with a 3-pointer by Poisson with a little over one minute left. During this stretch, CMU started to get into foul trouble, picking up four fouls in the first quarter.

NIU had a 25-13 lead after the first quarter led by Poisson with nine points off of three 3-pointers. The Chippewas’ top performer in the first quarter was Kelly with seven points and two rebounds.

A jumper from Brandon extended NIU’s lead to 27-13 early in the second quarter with a little over eight minutes left in the quarter. The Huskies extended their lead to 32-13 after a 3-pointer by Poisson with little under five minutes left in the quarter.

From there, NIU started to struggle on offensive and only scored five more points throughout the remainder of the quarter. CMU, on the other hand, started to find some traction on offense and posted a 38.5% shooting percentage in the second quarter.

The Chippewas cut the deficit to 34-24 after a 3-pointer by Watters with under a minute left in the quarter.

NIU took a 37-27 lead into halftime, led by Brandon with five points and three rebounds. CMU’s top performer was Kelly with five points.

CMU cut NIU’s lead to 42-36 early in the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Watters with a little under seven minutes left in the quarter. The momentum stayed in favor of CMU as it cut the deficit 47-42, thanks to a free throw by Davis.

NIU was able to withstand CMU’s push and extended its lead to 55-47 after a 3-pointer by Koker with a little under three minutes left in the quarter.

The Huskies had a 55-49 lead into the third quarter, led by Koker with 13 points and two rebounds. CMU’s top performer was Davis with seven points.

CMU tied the game at 55 early in the fourth quarter after a 3-pointer by Watters with a little under nine minutes left in the quarter. From there, the momentum stayed with CMU as they outscored NIU 13-7 over the next five-plus minutes and extended its lead to 68-62.

NIU made a late push and cut the lead to 72-68 after a layup by Koker with less than 30 seconds left in the game. The Chippewas were able to withstand the late push and went on to win 74-68.

The Chippewas were led by Kelly with eight points and one assist, while NIU’s top performer was Koker with 10 points.

NIU’s next game will be Wednesday in the opening round of the Mid-American Conference Championship Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The time and opponent for this game has yet to be determined, but will be available on ESPN+.