Women’s basketball triumphs behind excellent shooting

Koker 22 points shy of 1,000 career points


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)

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — The NIU women’s basketball team ended its two-game losing streak after defeating the Eastern Michigan University Eagles on the road in Ypsilanti, Michigan, 85-76.

The Huskies had three players in double digits, with junior forward A’Jah Davis leading the way with 23 points and 13 rebounds, recording her 10th double-double. Junior guard Chelby Koker had 17 points, and senior guard Janae Poisson had 16 points.

In the first quarter, EMU could not contain Huskies’ Davis as she had scored nine points, with eight of those points coming from inside the paint. Because of the open shots, NIU went on a 10-0 run halfway through the first quarter. The Huskies shot 4-4 from three and 10-13 from the field.

“I felt she did a great job of handling the different double teams that came her way,” head coach Lisa Carlsen said in an interview with ESPN. “We have been working a lot on that, knowing teams are going to double team, and I’m glad she kept her composure.”

NIU continued shooting perfectly from the three-point line, going 7-7 from three in the second quarter. The Huskies points came from inside the paint as they recorded 12 points from inside. They scored 21 points in the quarter and shot 69.2%. The Eagles scored 14 points in the quarter, but had a bad shooting performance, shooting 29.4%.

The Huskies led 48-36 at half. Davis led all scorers at the half with 17 points, shooting 80% from the field. Junior guard Chelby Koker also had ten points at the half.

“I think our bench production in the first half was phenomenal,” Carlsen said. “When you have people step in and do what they are capable of, it helps everyone else relax.”

The Huskies had 19 points off the bench. Freshman guard Sidney McCrea and senior forward Emily Meinert contributed off the bench with six points apiece.

In the third quarter, Poisson got into a rhythm scoring eight points. NIU continued to shoot the ball well from three, going 4-5, letting them get their largest lead at the end of the quarter with 18. The Huskies would still lead at the end of the third, 70-52.

NIU shot horribly in the fourth quarter at 37.5%. Their points mainly came from free throws as they went 9-10 from the line. The Huskies also had ten turnovers, resulting in the Eagles scoring seven points off turnovers.

Eagles senior guard Areanna Combs would take over the fourth for her team, scoring ten points in an attempt to bring a victory to her team. The Eagles would have their best quarter of the game in the fourth, scoring 24 points. When Combs scored her tenth point in fourth, the Huskies lead was cut to 70-76 with 2:44 left.

The Eagles could not pull off a comeback, so the Huskies would go on to win the game 85-76.

After Combs tremendous fourth-quarter she would tie Huskies’ Davis with a game-high of 23 points.

Koker scored 17 points in the game, now putting her at 978 points on her career, 22 points away from the 1,000 point mark.

The Huskies are back home Monday as they play against the University of Akron at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.