‘Cats keep playoff hopes alive

NW Staff

Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team was down by 10 points (41-31) at the half against the Tiffin University Dragons Saturday afternoon. But then the Wildcats used a strong second half to take the game.
NMU shot 60 percent from the floor (12-20) in the second half to outscore the Dragons 45-29 to win 76-70.
The ‘Cats improve to 12-9 overall on the season and 7-9 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Tiffin falls to 5-16 and 4-12 respectively. Almost six minutes into the game the ‘Cats used a three-point play from sophomore Kellie Rietveld to take a 13-11 lead. After a couple minutes of trading baskets the Dragons took a four-point lead 21-17 with about 10 minutes left in the half. The lead quickly grew to nine points thanks to a 9-4 run.
Senior Kelsey Deacon hit a three-pointer at 4:11 to cut Tiffin’s lead to five points (33-28). The Dragons answered for an eight-point lead less than three minutes left in the half (37-29). After junior Christa Erickson canned a jumper with 2:40 (37-31) left before the intermission the Dragons closed out the half by scoring the final two baskets.
The opening of the second half quickly saw the home team take a 12-point lead about two minutes into the half (46-34). Back-to-back jumpers by Deacon and junior Angie Leckson and a three-pointer by Erickson over a span of about two minutes put the ‘Cats back into the game at 46-44. NMU took a 49-48 lead at 12:37 when Brynn Larsen made a three-pointer. After trading a couple of baskets the ‘Cats took the lead for good at 10:45 when Leckson converted a three-point play for a 54-51 edge. Erickson made two free throws at 7:20 to give NMU a 62-55 lead. With less than three minutes left in the game Deacon’s jumper gave the ‘Cats an eight-point lead (68-60).
NMU scored its final eight points from the free throw line.
Deacon led all scorers with 21 points. Leckson off the bench added 15 points as she was 5-of-5 from the floor. Deacon and Rietveld each had six rebounds to lead the ‘Cats. Mandy Jaeb led the Dragons with 15 points.
NMU ended the game 26-48 from the floor (54.2 percent). The ‘Cats were a little off their three-point shooting as the team was 4-12 (33.3 percent). NMU was 20-28 from the free throw line (71.4 percent). Rebounds were in favor of the ‘Cats (39-30).
NMU will stay on the road for its next two games against Grand Valley State (Feb. 12) and Ferris State (Feb. 14).