The NIU women’s basketball team is set to play its first postseason game since 2017 when it takes on Georgia Southern on Friday in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
The Huskies are guaranteed three games in the tournament, played at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. Georgia Southern went 20-8 this year. NIU will be playing the Eagles for the first time.
Cal Baptist (19-13) or North Dakota (18-11) await the Huskies (16-14) in the second round on Saturday. Tennessee State, FIU, UIC and New Mexico State also are in the tournament, which concludes Sunday.
“We are excited and thankful for the opportunity to play in the WBI,” NIU head coach Lisa Carlsen said. “This team has done a lot of great things this season and beaten some really good teams. We look forward to having another chance to compete together and show what we can do.”
It’s the first postseason appearance for the Huskies since a first-round loss to South Dakota State in 2017 in the WNIT and eighth all time.
“I am super excited to be playing in the WBI,” said record-setting senior and DeKalb native A’Jah Davis, who set the school record for career double-doubles. “It allows me to put on a Huskie uniform three more times and raise a banner in the Convocation Center.”
Davis has 22 double-doubles this year and is third in career rebounds with 1,015. She’s 13 away from tying Carol Owens for second. She’s also scoring a team-best 16.3 points a game.
Chleby Koker enters Friday’s contest nine points shy of 1,500 for her career. She’s knocked down 40.3% of her 3-pointers, second-best in the Mid-American Conference.
“Any chance to play in the postseason is an opportunity to bring the program to another level,” Koker said. “We hope this is something we can continue to build off of and learn from while getting the chance to play with this team a few more times.”
The Eagles won 20 games for the first time in 20 seasons. Junior forward Terren Ward leads Georgia Southern with 18.2 points and 8.4 rebounds a game, earning All-Sun Belt first-team honors. The Eagles are ninth nationally in scoring, averaging 80.4 points a game.
Games are available to stream on watchwbi.com for $10 a day. Tickets for the tournament are available at womensbasketballinvitational.com for $20 a day in-person.