The Wildcats went into Saturday’s game against Saginaw Valley with a two-game losing streak.
Granted, one of those losses was on the road against Hillsdale, a team ranked fourth in the USA Today/ESPN poll.
However, the ladies went into Thursday’s match-up against Lake Superior State with lack of practice time on their home court. A factor that, according to head coach Troy Mattson, was a small reason for the 71-58 loss.
“It’s ridiculous because we haven’t shot in this gym in 12 days,” Mattson said. “Lake Superior’s in here (Berry Events Center) practicing all afternoon, and we can’t get in here to shoot. It can’t happen that way.”
A more dominant catalyst to Thursday’s loss was the fact that Northern missed the majority of their layups and free throw shots in the first half of the game.
Mattson saw this as the key cause for the loss.
“You take those layups that you should be making a good majority of, and the three free-throws that we missed in the first half compared to the zero that they missed, then we’ve got ourselves a ball game. We found ourselves down 11 points because we didn’t make our shots,” Mattson said.
Nevertheless, the women’s team went on to win Saturday’s game against the now 1-11 Saginaw Valley by a score of 78-58. Unlike Thursday’s game, the Wildcats were in the lead for the entire game.
The second half saw even more points made in their favor. Sophomore Kellie Rietveld came out as the team’s leading scorer, with 13 points.
After the game, she compared the win to Thursday’s match.
“We didn’t put the shots in on Thursday,” Rietveld said. “Today’s game, we were hitting threes, we were working together. We pulled it together, we got our shots in. That is why we won.”
Sophomore Erin Powers played one of her best games this year, coming out of the victory with 10 points and a team high nine rebounds.
Powers said guards Brynn Larsen and Rietveld were the perfect compliment to her drive down the court.
“Plays are going to open up when you push the ball up the court. If Brynn (Larson) and Kellie (Rietveld) keep that up, it’s going to help us out a lot for the rest of the season,” Powers said.
Leading scorer and senior guard Kelsey Deacon was a prime focus for the Cardinals throughout the game.
Mattson said Deacon has gotten attention all year from opposing teams.
“Kelsey’s dealt with it all year,” Mattson said. “I know Kelsey, she’ll bounce back, and she’ll be in the gym all next week shooting.”
Mattson also added that Deacon does equally as much for the team when she isn’t scoring a lot of points as when she’s scored in previous games.
“She does so much for us. She takes the tension off at least one, and sometimes two players — away from everybody else. She does a lot out there for us,” he said.
The next game for the ‘Cats is at home against Ferris State (3-9 GLIAC, 5-11 overall on Jan. 29 at 5:30 p.m. Ferris St. is led by senior Tegan Thelen, who is averaging 12.2 points per game.
On Saturday the team will face GVSU (11-1 GLIAC, 15-2 overall). GVSU is currently ranked 20th in the latest coaches poll. The team is led by senior Kim Wynguard, who is averaging 14.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.