DEKALB, Ill. — The SIUE Cougars rallied in the second half to snap the Northern Illinois University women’s basketball team’s eight-game winning streak Saturday, winning 62-60 at the NIU Convocation Center.

“We had opportunities to extend the lead and we weren’t able to do that,” said head coach Lisa Carlsen following Saturday’s game. “It came down to the last few possessions but we’re going to look at the middle of this game and probably be more disappointed there than anything. Credit to SIUE, they were the tougher team for 40 minutes.”

Chelby Koker (Racine, Wis./Shoreland Lutheran) led the Huskies in scoring for the third consecutive game with 18 points, adding five steals. A’Jah Davis (DeKalb, Ill./Montverde Academy [Fla.]) had a double-double for the sixth straight game with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Jayden Marable (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) added eight points and a team-high three assists in 31 minutes.

NIU (8-2) led by 10, 32-22, at halftime and went on a 9-4 run to start the third capped by two Koker free throws and a Davis layup to take a 41-26 lead with 5:36 left in the period. The Cougars responded with a 12-4 run of their own, going 7-for-8 at the free throw line to get within seven 45-38 with 3:34 to go. Koker and Janae Poisson (Matteson, Ill./Marian Catholic) then combined to score eight straight points, with Koker making two threes to put the lead back up to 15, 53-38, with 1:15 to go in the third.

SIUE’s (1-8) rally started with an Ajulu Thatha three-pointer that sparked a 5-0 run for the Cougars to end the third quarter, making the score 53-43. The run extended to 12-0 early in the fourth when back-to-back layups from Thatha and Madison Webb and a Sofie Lowis three put SIUE within three, 53-50, with 7:23 to go. Davis made two free throws at the 6:28 mark to put the Huskies back up five, 55-50. A Webb jumper and a Molly Sheehan three-pointer with 4:50 left in the game drew SIUE level at 55.

The Cougars took their first lead of the game with 2:57 to go when a Lowis jumper made the score 57-55. Lowis put in a layup on SIUE’s next possession to put the Cougars up four, 59-55, at the 2:34 mark. Davis got NIU back within two, 59-57, with 2:16 left with a layup off a nifty pass from Marable. SIUE led 60-58 with seven seconds left when Tara Stauffacher (Columbus, Wis./Wisconsin) stole an inbounds pass in the backcourt and went all the way in for the layup and a 60-60 tie with 5.6 seconds left. SIUE took back the lead when Mikayla Kinnard found KK Rodriguez under the basket for a layup, making the score 62-60. NIU had one last chance to tie the game, but Poisson’s layup rolled out as the final buzzer sounded.

The Huskies opened the game on an 11-2 run over the first 4:28 with Koker scoring the final five points. Sparked by five straight points from Lowis, SIUE got within three 13-10 with an 8-2 run over the next 2:42. NIU held the Cougars scoreless for the next three minutes, going on an 8-0 run into the second quarter. Davis capped the run with two free throws early in the second, giving the Huskies a 21-10 lead with 8:43 to go until halftime. SIUE got as close as five points twice in the quarter with two Thatha free throws making the score 27-22 with 4:51 left. NIU shut out the Cougars for the remainder of the half, with an Emily Meinert (Galesburg, Ill./Parkland College) three and Grace Hunter (Monroeville, Ind./Bellmont) layup giving the Huskies a 32-22 halftime advantage.

NIU shot just 31.7 percent from the field and was 6-for-24 from the three-point line. The Huskies did hold SIUE to 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 27 percent from long range. NIU forced 20 turnovers and scored 29 points off those SIUE miscues. SIUE held a 44-42 edge on the glass. Sheehan led SIUE with 18 points and Lowis added 17. The loss also snapped NIU’s eight-game home court winning streak.

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