Huskies burned by Rockets

The Huskies drop to 1-3 in Mid-American Conference play after 73-52 loss


Summer Fitzgerald

Redshirt senior guard Errin Hodges rushes to the net during Saturday’s loss to the University of Toledo. (Summer Fitzgerald | Northern Star)

DeKALB — Women’s basketball suffered its third conference loss after offensive struggles saw the University of Toledo Rockets leave the Convocation Center with a 73-52 victory Saturday in DeKalb.

The Huskies turned the ball over 22 times throughout the game and recorded 35% shooting, going 21-for-60 from the field. Toledo also contained NIU’s attack from three-point land as the Huskies went 0-for-10 on three-point attempts.

“I think Toledo showed why they’re the top defensive team in the league,” head coach Lisa Carlsen said. “They did a really nice job from start to finish and making things difficult for us on the offensive end.”

Starting off on the wrong foot

NIU began the scoring with a jumper score by redshirt senior guard Errin Hodges to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead. Toledo responded 37 seconds later, scoring three straight times to take a 6-2 lead in the second minute of the first quarter.

After a pair of successful free throws by redshirt senior guard Janae Poisson with 4:45 left in the first, the Rockets took off on a 16-2 scoring run. The first quarter ended with Toledo up on the Huskies 23-11.

“We really put ourselves in a hole from the beginning of the first quarter and we really were able to not climb out of it,” Carlsen said.

Junior forward A’Jah Davis holds the ball during Saturday’s matchup against the Toledo Rockets. (Summer Fitzgerald)

The Rockets maintained their lead in the early stages of the second quarter, starting with a layup by freshman forward Jessica Cook. NIU saw Toledo extend themselves to a 32-15 lead with 6:05 left to play in the first half.

A jumper by junior guard Chelby Koker started what would be a two-minute long shootout between the two squads. Toledo and NIU exchanged scores four times, ending with a successful jumper from Toledo junior guard Sophia Ward with 1:46 left in first half play.

Ward’s score proved to be the final from either side for the half as the teams totaled eight misses before the halftime buzzer.

Junior forward A’Jah Davis led first-half Huskie scoring with 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field. Toledo junior guard/forward Quinesha Lockett led all scorers with 18 points in the first half. NIU finished the first half with a field goal percentage of 31.3%, making 10-of-32 attempts at the net.

“You gotta credit Toledo,” Carlsen said. “They were able to use their length and their athleticism to make things difficult. I didn’t feel like we had very many great looks.”

Huskies playing catch-up

A foul on NIU’s Hodges against Toledo’s Lockett granted the Rockets their first scoring opportunity of the second half. Lockett’s two free throw attempts were successful to grow Toledo’s lead to 43-23. The Rockets later went on a seven point scoring run to double NIU’s score, up 50-25 with 7:03 in the third quarter.

The Huskies outscored the Rockets 12-9 for the remainder of the quarter. NIU entered the fourth quarter with a 22-point deficit, down 59-37.

The game’s final period saw both sides nearly match each other in scoring. The Huskies outscored the Rockets 15-14 in the final ten minutes. Toledo successfully protected its perfect record in conference play at 6-0 as the buzzer blared with the scoreboard showing 73-52 in their favor.

Davis finished the game as NIU’s leading scorer, accumulating 24 points on the day. Hodges was NIU’s next best scorer with eight points. Toledo’s Lockett ended the day as the game’s points leader with 23 points.

“(I’m) just going to continue to stay aggressive,” Davis said. “Miami also has some pretty efficient post players. (I’ll) be taking what the defense gives me.”

With the loss, NIU’s overall record has fallen to 4-8, while their Mid-American Conference record sinks to 1-3.

“This league doesn’t give you an opportunity to feel sorry for yourself,” Carlsen said. “It’s time to get back to work in preparation for a Miami team on Wednesday.”

The Huskies will travel to Oxford, Ohio, to challenge the Miami University of Ohio RedHawks for the first of a two game road stretch. Play is set to begin at 6 p.m. CT. at Millett Hall.