The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team lost to Northern Illinois University, 68-65 in overtime, at the Convocation Center on Feb. 2, to fall to 10-9 on the year. Redshirt senior Danielle Minott had a team-high of 22 points in the loss.
It’s always important to get off to a good start, and the Eagles were able to do that with a strong opening quarter. EMU shot 5-12 in the first 10 minutes while holding Northern Illinois to just 4-14 from the field. After one, Eastern Michigan held a 13-9 advantage and only added to that in the next quarter. EMU started the second period on a 14-4 spurt as sophomores Courtnie Lewis and Autumn Hudson got in on the scoring action. Those two combined for eight points and seven rebounds at halftime.
After leading 29-22 at the break and outscoring the Huskies 20-8 in the paint, the Eagles kept it going to start the third quarter.
Redshirt sophomore Corrione Cardwell had a steal and score to get things going after halftime, and a Kiara Johnson putback layup extended the Eagles’ lead to 41-28. Minott had seven of her 22 points in the third quarter, but the Huskies started to look more comfortable on the offensive end. Northern Illinois shot 7-16 in the quarter and kept the deficit at 47-40.
The Huskies continued their push to start fourth quarter with a 5-0 run that cut the EMU lead down to 49-45, and they would eventually earn a 52-51 lead because of a Myia Starks layup. The lead would change hands multiple times in the final minutes, and with less than 20 seconds left, EMU had a chance to pull off the victory. With the game tied, Cardwell drove to the rim and flipped up a shot, but it rolled off the front of the rim, and the game would go to overtime.
In the extra session, Minott gave the Eagles a four-point lead with a step-back 3-pointer, but EMU couldn’t hold onto the lead.
A few minutes later, Northern Illinois’ Mikayla Voigt scooped in a layup off the backboard, giving the Huskies a one-point advantage. On the ensuing EMU possession, Lewis attempted to pass the ball to Cardwell coming around for a hand-off, and NIU picked it off. NIU would hit two free throws to extend the lead to 68-65 with three seconds remaining.
“It was supposed to be a hand-off, for whatever reason Courtnie [Lewis] didn’t hand it off, and it was wide open,” coach Fred Castro said. “It was disappointing because we would have gotten a layup there.”
Freshman Jenna Annecchiarico had one final opportunity for the Eagles, but her deep 3-pointer was wide right.
“In the first half, we gave them zero points, and that’s why we were up, and in the third quarter, they got 10 points in transition, and that let them get 18 points,” Castro explained. “Transition defense, which was our main focus the whole game, we didn’t execute in the third quarter, and it cost us.”
The Eagles will look to rebound from the close loss on Wednesday, Feb. 6 on the road against Miami University. “Winning on the road in the MAC is tough,” Castro said. We went to Miami last year and had a great road win, so we know we can do it. We’ll need to have that resiliency and respond in a positive way in Miami.”