The Northern Illinois University women’s basketball team led by as much as 14 points in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Miami RedHawks at Millett Hall, but it was the hosts that scored the final seven points of the contest to come away with a 66-64 win.
After a Savannah Kluesner putback got Miami within two, 61-59, with under 3:00 to play, Myia Starks converted a three-point play to give NIU a 64-59 lead with 1:46 to go.
Peyton Scott then scored for Miami to cut the deficit to three with 1:31 to go and forced a turnover and turned that into an Monique Esbrand triple that tied the game at 64 with 1:06 remaining. The two teams then traded missed shots, giving NIU a chance to win the game with 0:22 left.
But an errant pass from Grace Hunter ended up in Esbrand's hands, and she went coast-to-coast with the steal to put Miami ahead 66-64 with 0:04 to go. Courtney Woods' 3-pointer missed as time expired for NIU
“We faltered down the stretch, but for the most part I liked our effort tonight,” NIU coach Lisa Carlsen said. “We did a good job attacking the things we thought we could get offensively. Defensively, we did a good job minimizing the effect Savannah Kluesner and Lauren Dickerson had on the ballgame. Obviously the last possession will weigh upon us, but there are a lot of positives we can take from this.”
Woods led all scorers with 23 points, adding eight rebounds and a game-high four steals. Starks and Chelby Koker each had 10 points. Ally May led all players with 11 rebounds. Kluesner led Miami with 19 points and eight rebounds. NIU outrebounded Miami 44-31 and shot a season-high 45.1 percent from the field. Miami scored 37 points off 25 Huskies turnovers.
NIU returns home Saturday to take on Toledo at 1 p.m. in the first game of a doubleheader at the NIU Convocation Center.