NIU women’s season ends with first-round loss to Kent State

Huskies rally within 5 points with 3:07 left but can’t get closer

NIU Huskies logo

The season came to an end for the NIU women’s basketball team Wednesday, losing to Kent State 75-68 in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland.

The Golden Flashes (21-9) made half of their 3-point shots in the first half, racing to a 38-25 lead.

“You have to credit Kent State for shooting the ball well, and we knew we needed to do a better job of defending them from behind the arc,” NIU coach Lisa Carlsen said. “I was proud of this group’s effort in the second half. We continued to fight, but Kent State had an answer every time we tried to make a run.”

NIU (16-14) got within five points with 8:22 to go in the game. Back-to-back layups from A’Jah Davis and Chelby Koker made the score 54-49. The Golden Flashes extended their lead to 10 with 4:08 to go on baskets from Katie Shumate and Corynne Hauser to go up 64-54. Jayden Marable responded with the next five points for NIU with her three at the 3:07 mark once again putting the Huskies within five at 64-59. That was as close as NIU got. Kent State went on a 10-3 run over the next 2:28 to go ahead 74-62.

I was proud of this group’s effort in the second half. We continued to fight, but Kent State had an answer every time we tried to make a run.

—  NIU coach Lisa Carlsen

Davis led all players with 26 points and 12 rebounds for her 22nd double-double of the season and 53rd of her career. Marable added 20 points, going 8 for 16 from the field and tying a career-high with three 3-pointers. Senior Emily Meinert pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds.

“Everybody will know about A’Jah for years to come,” said Carlsen, reflecting on the season. “She’s etched her name in the record books. We had some big wins this season, whether it be DePaul at home or our wins over Toledo, Ball State and Bowling Green. We had the talent to win big games, but sometimes it comes down to matchups, and we didn’t match up great with Kent State this year.”

NIU men’s basketball

Coit named to All-MAC third team: David Coit and Kaleb Thornton were honored by the league, with Coit being named to the third team.

Coit is 12th in the MAC in scoring, averaging 15.7 points per game, and eighth in league play, where he averages 16.9 points per contest.

Thornton was honorable mention. Thornton led the MAC during conference play in both assists and steals, averaging 6.7 assists per game and 2.2 steals per contest. For the season overall, Thornton is averaging 5.3 assists per game, second-best in the MAC and 30th nationally.

This marks the first time that NIU has had two All-MAC honorees in the same season since the 2003-04 campaign, when Marcus Smallwood and P.J. Smith both earned All-MAC honorable mention recognition.