Women’s basketball team looks to sink Lakers

Lauren Lee

The Wildcats are riding a three-game win streak as they hit the road this weekend to take on their rival Lake Superior State University Lakers and Northwood University Timberwolves.

NMU defeated the Saginaw Valley Cardinals 66-48 Thursday, Feb. 12 at Berry Events Center.

Senior center Courtney Lemon led the ’Cats in scoring with 17 points, sinking two three-pointers to get a 55-38 lead with 6:48 left in play.

The Cats defeated Hillsdale 79-51 Thursday, Jan 29 at Berry Events Center.

NMU’s wins last weekend advanced their record to 13-6 in conference play, placing them third in the GLIAC North Division and fifth overall in the conference, clinching a spot in the GLIAC tournament in March.

Sophomore guard Bre Gaspervich led the ’Cats in scoring, shooting 5-8 from the floor and 1-3 from the three-point range. Senior guard Lauren Gruber finished with 20 points, while senior guard Alyssa Colla scored 12. Colla has scored double-digit figures 21 of the ’Cats’ 23 games this season.

Head coach Troy Mattson said the Wildcats benefit from guards who show up to play.

“They’re good basketball players,” Mattson said. “They finish shots when they get them. They could have done a little better at the free throw line, but they’re both just good basketball players, and this team is lucky to have three really good guards.”

Hillsdale is now 15-8 overall with an 11-8 conference record.

NMU will travel to face the Lake Superior State Lakers at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 at Bud Cooper Gymnasium in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. LSSU is on a 10-game losing streak, ranking seventh in the North Division GLIAC with a 3-16 record in the GLIAC and 7-16 overall.

NMU beat Lake Superior State 69-64 with 14 different lead changes Thursday, Jan. 29 at Berry Events Center.

Colla scored a career-high 33 points against the Lakers.

LSSU head coach Kristen Rogers is in her first year coaching the Lakers, after serving as Mattson’s assistant coach the past three seasons and played a helping role in the ’Cats 2014 GLIAC championship.

Rogers said the reunion Thursday will be a hard-fought match.

“I’m looking forward to seeing both Troy and the rest of the team,” Rogers said. “I have a ton of great memories from my time at NMU and have so much respect for Troy and what he’s done with that program. They are fighting for playoff seeding, and we are focused on improving. They are a great team and playing extremely well right now. We both know each other well, and I anticipate a tough, defensive struggle.”

NMU travels to face the Northwood Timberwolves at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at Bennett Sports Center. The Timberwolves are ranked fourth in the North Division GLIAC with a 16-9 overall and 12-7 in the conference.

Last time the ’Cats faced the Timberwolves, NMU won 63-50. Lemon got her second double-double for the season with 22 points and 10 rebounds. NMU shot shot 22-45 from the field, holding Lake Superior to 17-59.

Lemon said the ’Cats are looking forward to another matchup with the Timberwolves.

“The last time Northwood played them our team came out with so much energy,” Lemon said. “We want to do the same thing again this weekend. This is a big weekend for us and we all know it.”

Northwood is coming off a three-win streak defeating Grand Valley State University, the second-ranked GLIAC team at the Fieldhouse Arena Saturday, Feb.14.

GVSU senior guard Gabrielle Rivette is ranked first in the GLIAC for assists with 109 this season. Gaspervich said the ’Cats are hoping to gain momentum before gearing up for the playoffs.

“These games are really important,” Gaspervich said. “How well we play each game ahead will determine how far we go for the rest of the season, and we aren’t ready to be done yet.”