Despite Courtney Woods’ 37 points and 15 rebounds, the losing streak for the NIU women extended to six games after the Huskies fell, 81-72, to Ball State on Saturday afternoon in Muncie, Indiana.
The Huskies were unable to overcome a slow start. NIU was outscored, 20-10, in the first quarter and never led during the game. Saturday’s loss marked the ninth conference game for NIU to have been decided by 10 points or fewer.
NIU (10-10, 2-7 Mid-American Conference) committed 21 turnovers. Ball State capitalized on NIU’s mistakes, converting 28 points off turnovers.
The Huskies also were outrebounded, 49-44, and gave up 17 offensive rebounds, which resulted in 15 second-chance points for the Cardinals. NIU coach Lisa Carlsen said the difference between winning and losing was NIU’s turnovers and the battle of the boards.
“We knew those were going to be two keys going into the game,” Carlsen said. “We just didn’t have the critical possessions where we gave ourselves a chance. We either turned it over or we’d get a stop but give up an offensive board. That’s the story of the game.”
NIU men fall at Western Michigan: Northern Illinois was topped by Western Michigan, 79-72, on Saturday in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Huskies (10-11, 3-5 Mid-American) have yet to win a conference road game this season.
Both teams shot well from the field – NIU finished shooting 50 percent (29 of 58) compared to Western Michigan’s 53.8 percent (28 of 52) from the field.
Sophomore Eugene German scored a team-high 21 points. Juniors Levi Bradley and Dante Thorpe joined German in double figures with 20 and 10 points, respectively.
The Huskies outrebounded the Broncos, 29-23.
“We battled for 40 minutes,” NIU coach Mark Montgomery said. “We had some bad bounces at the end. ... We had a couple late fouls when the shot clock was running down. We held them in check on the glass the whole game, but when it was crunch time, we didn’t get stops. That’s what hurt us.”
The Huskies continue their road trip Tuesday when they travel to Central Michigan. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.