Northern Illinois women’s basketball coach Lisa Carlsen’s dramatic turnaround of the program in her second year didn’t go unnoticed.
Carlsen was named one of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association’s Division I Coaches of the Year, the school announced Monday. The Huskies finished the 2016-17 season 21-12 with a trip to the WNIT – the program’s first postseason action since 1995. Carlsen’s fast-paced style allowed the Huskies to finish fifth in the nation in scoring at 85.1 points a game.
Carlsen, who won the award three times while at Lewis University (Division II), was one of three Division I women’s basketball coaches to win the award, along with DePaul’s Doug Bruno and Western Illinois’ JD Gravina. She’s the first NIU honoree since Jane Albright won it in 1994.
Howlett earns honor from conference: NIU sophomore Abby Howlett had a big week at the plate and was named the MAC West Player of the Week, the league announced Monday.
Howlett went 7 for 14 (.500) during five games, with a slugging percentage of 1.000, and had two home runs, six RBIs and four runs scored. In a 13-5 win over Eastern Michigan, she went 3 for 3 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Howlett, who went to St. Charles North, became the third Huskies player to win the award – joining Sam Schmidt and Kalo Kossakowski.
NIU takes on Wisconsin in a nonconference matchup at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Madison, Wisconsin.
Huskies surge late: NIU had a solid final day to move up three spots in the final standings and finish in fifth place Sunday at the MAC Championships.
The Huskies shot 294 as a team on the day, with sophomore Salvador Rocha leading the way with a 71 in the final round to finished tied for eighth overall. Kent State won the championship with a 25-stroke cushion. It’s the third consecutive season that the Huskies finished in the top five during the conference championship.
“We are young and just learning how to play championship level golf, and our inexperience showed in Round 1. After that, we played solid,” NIU director of golf Tom Porten said.