Davis, Brandon double-doubles lead Huskies

NIU beats Bradley 80-59 behind strong defense, rebounding

Senior+forward+Mikayla+Brandon+works+her+way+through+defenders+in+NIUs+80-59+victory+against+Bradley+on+Nov.+22+at+the+Convocation+Center.+Brandon+finished+the+game+with+15+points+and+10+rebounds.+%28Wes+Sanderson+%7C+Northern+Star%29

Wes Sanderson

Senior forward Mikayla Brandon works her way through defenders in NIU’s 80-59 victory against Bradley on Nov. 22 at the Convocation Center. Brandon finished the game with 15 points and 10 rebounds. (Wes Sanderson | Northern Star)

Waleed Alamieh, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — The women’s basketball team improved to 2-1 on the season, beating the Bradley University Braves 80-59 in one of the Huskies’ best defensive efforts this year.

“Overall, I was happy with us being able to contest shots, our rebounding, and not giving up too many second chance opportunities,” Huskies head coach Lisa Carlsen said. “Really solid all the way though, not just our starting five, but anybody I put in the game.” 

However, the defense could not contain Bradley’s all time leading scorer senior guard Gabi Haack, who had a game-high 27 points.

“Gabi was as advertised,” Carlsen said. “She was a lot to handle, but any player of that caliber is gonna take over and hit hard shots.” 

NIU was able to overcome the great play of  Haack by bringing physicality to the game. In the first quarter the Huskies out rebounded the Braves 16-2. NIU was living in the paint, scoring 20 of its 29 first quarter points there. The Huskies held a 10-point lead over the Braves at  the end of the quarter.

Junior forward A’jah Davis was ready to do whatever it took to from an offensive standpoint, whether it was her play in the paint or elsewhere on the court.

“I’ve grown comfortable in my role,” Davis said. “At the end of last season, I got my respect in the conference and teams started doubling. It’s been a work in progress throughout the summer and preseason.”

Davis finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds, earning the ninth double-double of her career.

The Huskies took over in the second quarter, holding the Braves to just nine points. NIU had a lot of energy in the quarter thanks to redshirt senior guard Janae Poisson, whose four points and assist to Davis with two seconds left helped the Huskies take a 20 point lead to end the half. 

“She’s somebody who’s always talking and we thrive on her energy,” Carlsen said. “She’s a confident player, but she’s really grown a lot in understanding what she’ll get on the floor” 

The Huskies continued to dominate in the second half, knocking down more shots from the perimeter. 

Senior forward Mikayla Brandon made two mid-range jumpers and a three pointer in the third quarter to help the Huskies keep a 20-point lead going into the fourth. Brandon finished with her first double-double of the season, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

“In the offseason, I put a lot of emphasis on my outside shot,” Brandon said. “Teams are gonna have to respect that and that’s gonna make us even harder to guard.”

Despite only shooting 25% from the field in the fourth quarter, the Huskies were able to close out the Braves in easy fashion, winning the game 80-59. 

The Huskies will return to action 1 p.m. Sunday at the Convocation Center when they take on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers.