Women’s basketball team looks to rebound past loss to Tech

Lauren Lee

The women’s basketball team lost a GLIAC North Division matchup to U.P. rival Michigan Tech 57-49 Monday, Feb. 2 at SDC gym in Houghton, Mich.

NMU head coach Troy Mattson said the teams played a close game that came down to a number of plays.

“They finished their shots when they had them,” Mattson said. “We had the ball where we wanted it early in the second half and they made a few defensive plays where we thought we were going to be able to score the basketball. That was a big difference the first four minutes of the second half. It was pretty even I thought, other than that.”

Senior guard Alyssa Colla ran into foul trouble in the first half, and sat the bench the final 12 minutes of the first half with two fouls. The Wildcats took a 20-19 lead into halftime.

Senior guard Lauren Gruber said Colla really makes plays happen so her absence was a shock to the team.

“She’s a big part of our offense,” Gruber said. “Not having her out there really kind of froze us. I think we really tried to work through it, but we really needed to take it to Tech, and we just didn’t get those points we missed without her.”

The Huskies scored eight straight points to open the second half, but NMU responded with a 10-2 run at 13:23 left to play giving the ’Cats a 30-29 lead.

Tech bounced back again with a 13-3 run that would bury the Wildcats and give the Huskies the lead for the remainder of the game.

NMU averaged 42.5 percent on their field goals, while Colla led the Wildcats in scoring with 15 points. Junior forward Kendall Martenet lead the team with seven rebounds.

Sophomore guard Morgan Anderson lead the Huskies scoring 16 points. The team overall averages 36.5 percent field goals.

Colla said the team isn’t looking at the next rivalry matchup in a couple weeks but the next game ahead.

“I think they just came out a little bit harder than us,” Colla said. “Our offense just wasn’t working. We really only went into the post and tried and force things down there and we just weren’t finishing shots. I think they just took it to us.”

The Wildcats hit the road to face the Grand Valley Lakers at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5 at Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale, Mich.

The Lakers haven’t lost a home game this season and are coming off a 69-59 home win against Ferris State University, placing GVSU 11-4 in the conference and 14-5 overall. The Lakers are in second place in the GLIAC North Division.

Colla said the team is ready to bounce back from the last match up against the Lakers.

“Grand Valley took it to us the first time at home,” Colla said. “We are just coming up with a better game plan and doing things different and, of course, defense.”

Sophomore forward Kayla Dawson with 38 steals so far this season ranks fifth in the GLIAC North Division, two spots ahead of NMU.

A Wildcat win would put the two teams in a tie for third or fourth place, depending on the result of Ashland University’s game against Walsh University. Ashland is tied with Grand Valley with an 11-4 record.

Grand Valley averages 7.8 steals per game, 69.7 points and 35.3 rebounds. Junior guard Brionna Barnett is leading GVSU on offense scoring 279 points this season.

The ’Cats go on to face Ferris State University Bulldogs at 1 p.m. Saturday Feb. 7 at Jim Wink arena in Big Rapids, Mich.

The Bulldogs are ranked sixth in the GLIAC North Division. FSU junior forward/center Christina Branch is ranked second in the conference for field goal points averaging 60.4.

Sophomore guard Ally Christman ranks first for free throws averaging 90.6.

Ferris State averages 64.7 points per game with 13.3 assists and 10 steals per game.

Junior guard Katie Mavis is the second leading scorer for FSU averaging 42.8 points.

Gruber said the team will take its rivalry loss to help improve their plays this weekend.

“I think defense and rebounding are the key to winning this weekend,” said Gruber. “We gave up too many in the first half against Tech and just coming out with the confidence that we can score and we’re just going to play how we play.”