The Northern Illinois women’s basketball team fell 67-58 to Bradley on Wednesday evening at Renaissance Coliseum.
The Huskies (2-3) entered the game with three straight contests of 48 percent or better shooting but shot 36.8 percent against the Braves (4-3), who put up a 43.8 percent performance, including going 9-for-16 in the second half.
“Our poise was lacking tonight and we have to build that somehow,” said NIU head coach Kathi Bennett. “We played really hard in the second half. They had seven offensive boards in the first half and zero in the second. We have to come back and fight like crazy on Friday against Loyola.”
Coming off a five-game road trip, Bradley continued to defend its home court as the Braves improved to 8-3 at Renaissance Coliseum against non-conference opponents, and won their sixth straight versus an intrastate foe.
The Huskies came into the game averaging 57.2 points allowed per game and Bradley came in netting 70.2 points per game on offense. NIU’s defense did a good job of holding the Braves to a 37.5 shooting percentage in the first half and 25 percent on threes. However, the second half was a different story as Bradley shot 56.3 percent overall and 50 percent on threes. Meanwhile, NIU struggled to score, shooting 34.4 percent and missing all five threes.
The Braves had two key stretches of play to even the all-time series between the teams at 7-7. The first came in the final 5:18 of the first half as BU outscored NIU 10-4 and forced four NIU turnovers to take a 32-26 halftime lead. The second came from the 15:34 mark of the second half to the 11:20 mark as the Braves opened the half going 5-for-8 from the field while NIU was 3-for-12, leading to BU’s largest lead of the game, 45-35.
NIU climbed back within five points with 1:59 left in the game, but a desperation NBA-distance three-pointer by BU’s Catie O’Leary with the shot clock winding down ended any chance of a late comeback for the Huskies.
For the second straight game, Jada Buggs (Elkhart, Ind./Memorial/Wisconsin) led NIU in scoring with 18 points. She also added a team-high seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. With 16 and 11 points in her two prior games, she has scored in double figures three straight times and is averaging 15 points per game.
Next up for NIU is a quick turnaround as the Huskies host another intrastate team in Loyola at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, in the Convocation Center.
For more information on NIU women’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.