Women’s basketball earns third straight win in Muncie

NIU remains in contention for the postseason with one game left on the regular season.


Summer Fitzgerald

Junior forward A’Jah Davis plays one-on-one against Ball State freshman forward Marie Kiefer during a matchup on Jan. 5 at the Convocation Center in DeKalb. The Huskies left Muncie Saturday with a 77-72 victory, avenging their 83-82 overtime loss earlier in the season to the Cardinals. (Summer Fitzgerald | Northern Star)

By Michael Stoll, Sports Reporter

It was a tale of two halves Saturday afternoon in Muncie, Indiana for the NIU women’s basketball team, as they came back from early struggles and defeated the Ball State University Cardinals 77-72, winning their third straight and improving to a record of 13-13 with two games remaining in the season.

How it happened

Junior forward A’Jah Davis led the way with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and posted her 10th straight double-double. Graduate guard Nia Ahart and Redshirt freshman guard Sidney McCrea combined to sink five 3-pointers and contribute 24 points.

Ball State led 31-26 at halftime, after making seven threes in the first half. Coming into the bout, Ball State was averaging 8.6 made threes a game. But NIU hung around with good shot selection, primarily in the paint, and came out in the second half swinging.

“I think the adjustment was pretty simple at halftime,” head coach Lisa Carlsen said on Huskie Sports Radio Network. “We needed to get A’Jah [Davis] the ball. We weren’t putting ourselves in position to get her the ball in the right areas of the floor.”

NIU quickly opened up the second half feeding Davis, after she started the game 1-7 from the field. She made her first five field goal attempts of the second half. Her efforts, combined with Ball State cooling off from deep, saw the Huskies outscore the Cardinals 29-12 in the third quarter and lead by 12 heading into the fourth quarter.

The lead ballooned all the way to 18 at one point in the fourth before Ball State began their full-court press with a little over four minutes to go. They successfully cut the lead all the way down five on two occasions, but NIU hung on and closed out the game.

The end result

With two games left in the regular season, the Huskies will look to continue their hot play of late with a chance to head into Mid-American Conference tournament play in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Huskies currently sit at fourth in the MAC with a 13-13 overall record, and 10-8 record against conference opponents.

Looking ahead

NIU’s next matchup will see the Huskies make their way to the University of Toledo for a Saturday matchup with the Rockets that will be aired on ESPN3 starting at 6 p.m. Afterwards, NIU returns to DeKalb for their season finale as they host Central Michigan University on Mar. 5 at 1 p.m. in the Convocation Center.