Women’s basketball snuffs out losing streak in road victory

The Huskies have earned their first road victory in win over conference opponent Ohio.

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Khavon Thomas | Northern Star

Junior guard Chelby Koker (right) dribbles past a defender in NIU’s exhibition game against Benedictine on Oct. 29.

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — Women’s basketball claimed its first road victory Saturday and snapped its six-game losing streak with a 71-68 victory against the Ohio University Bobcats Saturday in Athens, Ohio.

The Huskies had four players in double digits, with two recording double-doubles. Senior guard Janae Poisson led the Huskies with 20 points. Junior forward A’Jah Davis scored 13 points and 15 rebounds. Junior guard Chelby Koker had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

“Experience told us how we need to close out games,” head coach Lisa Carlsen said in a postgame interview with Huskie Sports Radio Network. “We did a good job making free throws and got key defensive boards down the stretch.

The Huskies were up against conference foe Ohio, who has the reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year in senior guard Cece Hooks.

Poisson and Davis were the main contributors to the Huskies having an eight-point lead 19-11 in the first quarter. Poisson had six points in the quarter with two three-pointers made and Davis had eight points with six coming from the paint.

Turnovers plagued the Huskies in the first quarter, turning the ball over nine times. NIU still managed to have a lead as the Bobcats could not get into an offensive rhythm, shooting a poor 27.7% from the floor.

The second quarter saw Ohio, find its identity on the offensive side of the ball. The Bobcats cut into NIU’s lead and after a three-pointer by freshman guard Kendall Hale, Ohio found themselves down by three, 24-21. Poisson continued to stay persistent by scoring, trying to extend the Huskie lead. Poisson scored five points late in the quarter to keep the Huskies in front at the half, 31-27.

Davis led the Huskies with nine points and ten rebounds in the first half. Hooks led the Bobcats in points with 12.

Coming out of halftime, the Huskies went on an 8-0 run between the 6:30 and 4:42 marks, increasing their lead to 12.  The Huskies pushed the lead to as much as 14, leading 52-38 at the 1:01 mark in the third quarter.

The Bobcats went on a 9-0 run with a minute left in the third quarter to make it a five-point game. Hooks scored eight points in the quarter and led all scorers with 20 points.

Experience told us how we need to close out games.”

— Head coach Lisa Carlsen

Both teams spent the fourth quarter trading baskets fiercely. The Bobcats brought it within two, 64-62, with 1:45 left in the quarter. As Hodges went for a layup, Huskies had possession of the ball but missed. The Bobcats ran in transition looking to score as senior forward Gabby Burris shot the three to take the advantage but missed.

NIU regained possession off a missed three-pointer by the Bobcats. Hodges drove to the basket drawing a foul and the basket. The Huskies were up five, 67-62, with 43 seconds left. The Bobcats turned the ball over and fouled Koker to stop the clock. The Huskies were up 69-62 with 27 seconds left.

The Bobcats’ Burris made a three-pointer with 21 seconds left, bringing it within four. The Bobcats got the ball back again and junior guard Kaylee Bambule made a three-pointer to bring it within one with five seconds left. The Huskies would win 71-68, winning their first game of the season.

“The last couple of games have taught us that we need to finish,” Carlsen said. “I think our poise down the stretch was pretty good. If that’s what we need to get over the hump, hopefully we can stretch it together.”

The Huskies will head back on the road to take on Western Michigan University at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The game can be watched on ESPN3.