’Cats look to gain ground in GLIAC race

Lauren Lee

Women’s basketball team makes up for early struggles to Grand Valley State

The women’s basketball team has an opportunity to climb the GLIAC standings this weekend as they travel to Saginaw Valley State University and Hillsdale College.

The ’Cats have a record of 8-6 overall and 6-4 in the conference.

Grand Valley State University pulled a 68-61 win over NMU Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Berry Event Center.

After trailing GVSU 42-28 in the first half, NMU came back in the second half scoring 11 points from senior guard Alyssa Colla making the team-high 15 points. Colla was a gametime decision after an ankle injury against Lake Erie College Saturday, Jan. 10 at the Berry Event Center.

Senior forward Abbey DeBruin scored seven points for the ’Cats, making a three-pointer with 9:22 left in the second half.

DeBruin said the Wildcats aren’t taking any teams lightly this weekend.

“We just have to focus on playing solid defense, knowing our game plan coming in on our defensive rules and sticking to that,” DeBruin said. “We had just a few breakdowns against Grand Valley and you can’t beat a good team when you have those breakdowns. Saginaw and Hillsdale are both tough opponents, Saginaw’s record might not show it, but they’re a tough team with some really good players.

“We got some work to do, it’s just important that we stick to our rules and get some wins this weekend.”

The ’Cats made a comeback after being down 14 points having the first lead against the Lakers after Colla scored a three-pointer with 6:37 left in the game but couldn’t keep the lead, loosing 68-61.

GVSU now has a record of 10-3 and 7-2 in the GLIAC.

NMU defeated the Ferris State Bulldogs 67-52 Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Berry Event Center.

Colla had a game high 21 points. Senior guard Lauren Gruber followed with 19 points.

The ‘Cats had their largest lead of the game with 16:14 left in the second half with a 45-26 lead.Junior forward/center Christina Branch lead the Bulldogs with 20 points and nine rebounds.

Senior center Courtney Lemon said the ’Cats played to their full potential against Ferris.

“It was just a great win for us,” Lemon said. “It was really nice we put together a full 40 minutes and we really worked hard together to really get that win. If we would have came out in the first half with more energy against Grand Valley it really would have been our game. We just have to get ourselves back on the road and have more wins in our win column.”

Ferris State outscored Northern Michigan 24-8 in the paint and outrebounded the Cats 31-24.

FSU has a record of 7-6 overall and 5-5 in the GLIAC.

Junior guard Anna Liewen for the Wildcats has been cleared to play after being off the court for 15 months.

The ’Cats face off against the Saginaw State University Cardinals 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 at the James E. O’Neill Arena in Saginaw.

DeBruin said she’s not letting her shoulder injury take time away from being on the court with her fellow Wildcats.

“My dad jokes that it’s a DeBruin family heirloom,” DeBruin said. “It just has popped out a few times, not bad at all. I’ve been in the gym and have been getting shots up and I feel fine. As a senior I don’t think there is anything that would keep me off the court this year. I just want to go out there and have a good end to the season with my team.”

The Cardinals are currently ranked 15 out of the 16 GLIAC teams,  with a 1-9 record in the league and 6-10 overall.

Sophomore forward Emily Wendling for SVSU is currently ranked third in points per game in the GLIAC, averaging 18, placing her one spot below Colla. Wendling is also ranked in the GLIAC for rebounds per game averaging 10.6.

Northern Michigan University goes on to face Hillsdale at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24 at Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena in Hillsdale.

Hillsdale is ranked sixth in the GLIAC,  with an identical record to NMU at 6-4 in the league and 10-5 overall.

Senior forward Megan Fogt averages 9.4 rebounds per game placing her fourth in the GLIAC, one spot below Wendling.

Fogt also averages 61.5 field goals this season placing her third in the GLIAC.

NMU head coach Troy Mattson said the upcoming games aren’t going to be handed to the Cats with pressure from talented players in both away games this weekend.

“They’re going to be tough and any time you go on the road it’s difficult,” Mattson said. “In this league both teams have good inside games. Emily Wendling at Saginaw Valley is as good as any center in our league and a potential All-American in Division II. Hillsdale has Megan Fogt who is All-American and an inside girl so they are going to put a lot of stress on our inside people.”