’Cats can grab playoff spot with weekend wins

Julie Goldberg

The Wildcat women’s basketball team will host their first home games of the winter semester when they face Saginaw Valley State University on Thursday, Jan. 21 and Hillsdale College on Saturday, Jan. 23.

The Wildcats traveled to Grand Valley State University on Saturday, Jan. 14 and lost 70-30. Freshman guard Darby Youngstrom and freshman guard Sydney Dillinger led the ’Cats with six points each.re-WBball1_JR

Freshman center Taylor Hodell led the team with seven rebounds and two blocks.

“We struggled to score against Grand Valley State,” head coach Troy Mattson said. “We give them a lot of credit though. They are a good team and brought a lot of energy to the court.”

The ’Cats rebounded from the loss and beat the Ferris State Bulldogs on Saturday, Jan. 16 79-64. Hodell recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Bre Gaspervich led the team with 16 points and five assists.

After trailing 26-18 at the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 18-6 in the second quarter to take a 36-32 lead at halftime.

The Wildcats never let go of their halftime lead and outscored the Bulldogs 43-32 in the second half.

For the game, the ’Cats outscored the Bulldogs in the paint 44-24 and outrebounded them 37-29.

“We bounced back against the Bulldogs,” Mattson said. “We had a lot of energy and a lot of toughness throughout the game. I’m pleased with the effort.”

Hodell added that the team shared the ball really well against Ferris State, they hustled for loose balls, rebounded well and played great woman-to-woman defense.

On Thursday, Jan. 21, the Wildcats are facing the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals. The Cardinals have a record of 11-4 this season with a 8-2 conference record and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak.

Cardinal junior guard Katelyn Carriere leads the Cardinals with 12.8 points per game this season while Cardinal junior forward Emily Wendling averages 9.3 rebounds per game to lead the team.

“Wendling is a dominant post player who is capable of putting up big numbers,” Hodell said. “We are covering on how to deal with her along with the shooters they have along the perimeter.”

On Saturday, Jan. 23, the Wildcats will face an 8-6 Hillsdale Chargers team. The Chargers have a 5-5 conference record.

Leading the Chargers is senior forward Kayla Geffert, who is averaging 8.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

“We’re focused on Saginaw Valley State,” Mattson said. “We got to do better at defensive rebounding if we want to have a chance to win. We have to take care of the ball better so we can put up good numbers.”

The ’Cats are currently tied for eighth in the GLIAC conference standings with Hillsdale and Northwood with 5-5 conference records. The Wildcats are 6-10 for the season and have 12 games remaining in the regular season.

“This season has been a learning year for our team,” Hodell said. “Coach Mattson, Coach Dunham and the upperclassmen have had to be patient with us freshmen as we learn what it is like to play college basketball. We just need to continue to work hard and play how we know we can play.”