The Northern Illinois women's basketball team trailed by as much as 10 on Saturday at Western Michigan, but held on late for a 74-71 win over the Broncos.
The win give the Huskies (18-12 overall, 10-8 MAC) the No. 7 seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, and they will host the No. 10 Broncos (10-19, 4-15) at 5:30 p.m. Monday in a first-round game.
NIU led by one with 39 seconds left when Gabby Nikitinaite missed a 3-pointer, but Ally May grabbed the offensive rebound. Errin Hodges made most of her free throws with 7 seconds left to stake the Huskies back to a three-point lead, and Meredith Miller missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
“That was 20 minutes of the toughest basketball we’ve played,” head coach Lisa Carlsen said about the second half comeback. “Our challenge at halftime was to match their toughness and physicality, and I was proud of the team for their adjustment in the second half. We got to the foul line and we did a much better job on the glass.”
Miller shot 2 for 16 for the game and 1 of 14 from long range.
Mikayla Voigt scored 26 points to lead all scorers and was 10 of 13 from the free-throw lie. Myia Starks scored 13 points and Riley Blackwell 10. May had nine rebounds.
NIU finished the game 22 of 26 at the free throw line, and shot 43.4 percent from the field. Western Michigan was 15 for 16 at the foul line and shot 40.4 percent from the field. The Broncos held a 34-28 advantage on the glass, but NIU was able to turn 16 Western Michigan turnovers into 18 points.
Leighah-Amori Wool led the Broncos with 19 points and Jasmyn Walker added 17 points and eight rebounds.
NIU never led by more than three points and went the last 2:45 without a field goal in the win.
Huskies send two to tourney: The wrestling team extended its streak of qualifying a wrestler to the NCAA Tournament to 48 years as two punched their ticket to Pittsburgh at the 2019 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships.
“The guys wrestled hard after a first tough round yesterday,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “There were a lot of bonus point wins.”
Brit Wilson and Bryce West each earned NCAA bids after finishing second and third, respectively, in their respective weight classes.