Wildcats use halftime adjustments to beat Findlay, snap losing streak

carson.lemahieu

The NMU women’s basketball team mounted an impressive second-half comeback, Saturday, to down the Findlay Oilers 74-65, snapping a four-game skid.

“We needed that,” junior Kelsey Deacon said.

With the win, the ‘Cats record improves to 8-11 overall and 3-8 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).

The ‘Cats came out of the gates in much the same fashion as they had the past four games, allowing the Oilers (8-10 overall, 2-7 GLIAC) to jump out to a 38-33 halftime lead. Head coach Troy Mattson, along with the rest of the Wildcats, credited halftime adjustments for the win.

“We had a big talk at halftime, to tell you the truth, and we came out and played like the team I had been coaching all year and I’m very proud of that and they should be proud of themselves,” Mattson said.

The Wildcats allowed Findlay to extend their lead to nine points before going on a 17-2 run to gain control of the game with just under 10 minutes to play.

“I thought our inside players stepped up because I challenged them at halftime because I thought they weren’t playing hard and weren’t getting the job done for us,” Mattson said.

“It’s a mentality that we’ve been in a lull. We’ve had no energy, no pride in where our program has come to, and at halftime that’s what we talked about. Everyone just had to come out and play and they’ve got to do their jobs,” he added.

Deacon led the ‘Cats with 22 points-20 of which came in the second half. Freshman Steffani Stoeger and senior Allison Carroll both scored in double figures with 14 and 10, respectively. Findlay’s Cate Cianchetti led all scorers with 23 points.

“[Deacon] hasn’t had the energy and motivation to play well as of late and I talked to her about that at halftime and she came out and decided that she was going to play. She can do whatever she wants if she is focused, she’s got that kind of ability,” Mattson said.

Stoeger said she agrees with Mattson about Deacon’s second-half performance, which included shooting 4-for- 6 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“Kelsey played an unbelievable game in the second-half. She really stepped up as a team leader for us and I think she proved what she is about as a player on our team,” Stoeger said. “I have a lot of respect for what she did for us today, she came out and she turned us into a different team.”

The Wildcats also controlled the boards in the second half, out rebounding Findlay 21-17 in the half. The ‘Cats inside players also set the tempo for the game, outscoring the Oilers in the paint 28-18.

“I thought our inside players stepped up because I challenged them at halftime because I thought they weren’t playing hard and weren’t getting the job done for us,” Mattson said. “No one has been making shots for two or three weeks except Allison. Angie (Leckson) hadn’t been scoring, Cassie Rushford hasn’t been scoring and when they started Kelsey (Deacon) got open for some three’s.”

The ‘Cats are back in action Thursday, Jan. 30, when they travel to Sault Ste. Marie to take on Lake Superior State University (LSSU) in a game originally scheduled Wednesday but postponed due to inclement weather.