Weekend on the road will determine GLIAC playoffs

AnnMarie Kent

After a split weekend, the Wildcat women’s basketball team focuses on the next game to secure them a spot in the GLIAC playoffs.

The ’Cats hosted the Grand Valley State University Lakers at the Berry Events Center on Thursday night. The Wildcats suffered a 70-49 loss, despite the performance by freshman guard Chloe Tompkins. Tompkins matched her career-high score with 17 points in the game.re-WBball_ET

“I thought I played okay,” Tompkins said. “I thought for the team, it was a big week for us as whole. We grew a lot and realized the intensity we have to play with to beat big teams.”

Two free throws by freshman center Taylor Hodell put the Wildcats within four points as they began the fourth quarter. The Lakers pulled ahead and outshot the Wildcats 24-9 in the final frame to secure their victory.

After last week’s win over Michigan Tech, who is tied for second in the GLIAC North Division, assistant coach Mariah LaPointe-Dunham wasn’t sure how it would turn out bringing the first place GLIAC team to their home court.

“I thought we played really tough,” LaPointe-Dunham said. “We had five games in 10 days, so as a coaching staff we weren’t really sure how we would do with two of toughest opponents in the GLIAC coming into our home court, and what kind of energy we’d be bringing.”

The Wildcats turned the weekend around and defeated the Ferris State University Bulldogs 59-49 on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Junior guard Bre Gaspervich finished the game with a double-double, including a 12 rebounds and a career-high 27 points.

The Wildcats went into halftime with a 28-23 lead, but the Bulldogs came back with a 10-2 run giving them their second lead of the game. NMU reclaimed their lead, and even as the Bulldogs tried to close the gap between their scores the Wildcats stayed ahead until the very end.

The split weekend puts the team at 10-13 overall and 9-8 in the GLIAC. The Wildcats are also in a three-way tie for seventh place in GLIAC standings, which puts them in competition with Northwood University and Findlay University for the final spot in the GLIAC playoffs.

“For us it’s about just winning the next game we are playing,” LaPointe-Dunham said. “We care a little bit, obviously, where we are in conference because we’re tied with Northwood and Findlay for that eighth spot in the GLIAC tournament. I think it’s important for us to concentrate on Thursday’s game.”

The coaches as well as the team understand what each game means.

“Every game is really important. It’s kind of make it or break it at this point,” Tompkins said. “A lot of other teams are set—they’re already going to be in the tournament— and we’re right on the edge. So, every game we go into it’s really important to play like it’s going to be our last chance.”