NIU passes exhibition test at home

Women’s basketball sees rotation get plenty of playing time in the Huskies 87-41 victory over Benedictine


Khavon Thomas

Senior forward Emily Meinert, junior guard Grace Hunter, senior guard Janae Poisson (from left to right) await introductions during the Oct. 29 exhibition game at the Convocation Center. (Khavon Thomas | Northern Star)

By James Krause

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team was able to incorporate 11 different scorers in their exhibition victory over the Benedictine University Eagles 87-41 on Friday night at the Convocation Center.

Everyone who suited up for NIU got at least 10 minutes of playing time, giving head coach Lisa Carlsen plenty of valuable information on her team to prepare for the regular season.

“That was the plan to get everyone on the floor,” Carlsen said. “We got to look at different combinations. I think we’ll be able to look at film and see what we really need to work on. We get a chance next week before Illinois State comes to town and we have to get better. This was a great opportunity to get everyone on the floor.”

Junior forward A’Jah Davis and redshirt senior guard Paulina Castro were the only two Huskies players to not see the court.

The leading scorer for NIU was redshirt senior guard Errin Hodges with 16 points with a perfect six-for-six shooting night. Hodges said the exhibition gives the team a chance to mesh in live-action before playing the games that count later in the year.

“As players, I think it allows us to work through plays and build our chemistry as well,” Hodges said. “We get to evaluate how everyone is doing and build off of each other. In different situations later in the season, we know we can take what we worked on in this game and apply it later in the year.” 

Despite Hodges’ shooting performance, Carlsen said she expected better from the Huskies than their 7-for-38 three-point shooting. Freshman guard Moriah Prewitt made three of those shots from beyond the arch.

“It surprised me that we didn’t shoot the three better,” Carlsen said. “We are a better three-point shooting team than we displayed tonight, but I thought Prewitt came in and gave us a great lift. She shot from the perimeter very well.”

NIU struggled out of the gate, falling behind by as many as nine points in the opening quarter and missing seven straight field goals. The Huskies finished the quarter on a 17-2 run to take the lead before the end of the first.

The star of the second quarter was Prewitt, who drained two three-pointers in her unofficial first collegiate playing time during the second period. Prewitt finished the game with nine points. NIU went into the halftime break leading 44-21.

Hodges managed to get into passing lanes to create breakaway opportunities often, including a steal in the third to get her final basket of the night. Hodges would sit out the fourth quarter, finishing with three steals to go with her game-high scoring mark.

The worst shooting quarter of the game for NIU was the fourth, making only 28% of their shots. The Huskies still outscored the Eagles in the fourth thanks to eight turnovers by the Division-III squad from Lisle.

The Huskies season starts for real at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Convocation Center when NIU hosts the Illinois State University Redbirds.