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NIU women's hoops comes up short after late push

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DeKALB – Satavia Taylor’s layup was just off the mark.

Northern Illinois’ senior forward already had scored 18 points in Wednesday’s contest against Western Michigan and, with her team down four points with 35 seconds left, she had the chance to bring the Huskies within two after they had trailed by 16 points at one point in the second half.

Taylor drove, but the shot wouldn’t go. NIU wasn’t able to inch any closer to the Broncos the rest of the contest, falling 54-51.

The Huskies remain winless in Mid-American Conference play, but NIU coach Kathi Bennett noted her team’s fight and energy at the end of the game. NIU used a 15-2 run at one point after halftime, and was able to get within two multiple times. However, the Huskies couldn’t buy the big, game-tying basket.

“I think for the most part our energy was pretty phenomenal,” Bennett said. “I think we played really hard.”

Before this season, the Huskies never had lost their first five conference games in any of the four leagues in which the program has competed in. NIU joined the NCAA in 1982-83.

With the loss, NIU dropped to 5-13 and 0-5 in the MAC.

Bennett said her group is improving, and said things will get better if NIU improves at the start of the game, and the beginning of the second half. Western Michigan (6-12, 2-3 MAC) led by six points at halftime before pulling away.

“We’ve got to find 40 minutes of basketball. I think we’ve improved, I thought this was our best performance in a while,” Bennett said. “To beat Toledo (on Saturday), we’re going to have to do it for 40 minutes. Not 35, not 25, it’s got to be 40.”

NIU shot 19 of 54 (35.2 percent) from the field in the defeat, and went just 6 of 22 (27.3 percent) in the first half.

One of the Huskies’ bright spots in the loss was Taylor, who also grabbed six rebounds. Amanda Corral added eight points for NIU.

Taylor scored 12 second-half points, and said it was a matter of just being more aggressive.

“Basically the coaches said at halftime to be the aggressor, and to attack them,” Taylor said. “Just attack off the dribble.”

Bennett said her team struggled getting points in the paint against the Broncos.

“We need to do a better job of finishing. I’ve said it before, we’ve got to get something inside,” Bennett said. “We’ve got to get our posts to finish shots.”

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