A 9-0 run by the Eagles late in the second half proved to be too much for NIU overcome as Eastern Michigan improved to 8-19 overall and 6-8 in the Mid-American Conference.
The Huskies fell to 7-20 overall and 2-12 in league play.
“I don’t think we can play harder, especially in the second half,” NIU head coach Kathi Bennett said. “We had one offensive rebound in the first half and ended up with 13. We got some second-chance points and laid it on the line.”
With the score tied 38-38 with 5:57 left to play in the game, EMU’s Taylor Bird connected on a three-pointer to spark the Eagle run. The Huskies missed five shots and turned the ball over two times during the EMU rally before a layup by Amanda Corral (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) at 1:26 ended the run and pulled NIU to within seven, 47-40.
Corral led the Huskies with 14 points, going 6-of-16 from the field, including 2-for-6 from three-point territory. She finished two rebounds shy of a double-double with eight boards.
Natecia Augusta (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) also finished in double figures with 12 points and missed a double-double herself with eight boards as well.
“She kept a lot of basketballs alive, a lot of tips,” said Bennett of Augusta’s play Thursday night. “She really D-ed it up today.”
Trailing 24-17 to open the second half, NIU came out strong in the second half. The Huskies outscored EMU, 10-4 through the first six minutes of the half. Corral tied the game at 30-30 with a three-ball at the 11:52 mark. A jumper by Augusta gave NIU its first lead since 9:37 in the first half.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, that would be their last lead of the game. NIU tied the game three times, but was unable to push past the Eagles.
EMU’s Desyree Thomas led all scorers with 17 points, while Chelsea Hite also finished in double digits with 13 points.
The Huskies return to the floor Sunday when NIU welcomes Central Michigan to the Convocation Center. Tip-off for Senior Day is set for 3 p.m.
For more information on NIU women’s baksetball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.