Injured Wildcat offense goes quiet against Tech

Ray Bressette


A chance for a sweep flew out of NMU’s grasp quickly Thursday night, as the Michigan Tech Huskies defended their home court with an 80-38 runaway win over the Wildcats in the team’s regular season finales.

“I’m disappointed we didn’t compete at a high level,” NMU head coach Troy Mattson said. “We’ve competed well the last eight weeks. We knew we had to give more and Tech would come at us ready, and we weren’t prepared.”

NMU held a 6-4 lead 2:29 into the game, but two quick buckets from the Huskies started a 44-12 run by Tech that closed out the first half and put the game out of reach.

The 42-point loss was the largest defeat the ’Cats have suffered this season. This came just three weeks after NMU upset Tech 71-69 on Feb. 1 at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.

For the Huskies, Thursday was their final regular season home game and their seniors were honored before the playoffs begin Tuesday night.

Mattson said emotions were high for the Tech community on the night they honored their seniors.

“Tech has four really good seniors, and they weren’t going to let anybody come in here and disrupt them on senior day,” Mattson said. “They made all kinds of shots and plays, and we didn’t compete with them or play hard enough. They’ve won a lot of games and championships up there, and they’re going to take a lot of pride when they step on their court. They gave it to us, but we’ll move on.”

Tech’s senior forward and team leader in scoring Danielle Blake reached her third highest scoring points of the season in the finale, racking up 23 points.

Despite being held to their second lowest point total of the season, NMU potentially suffered worse blows five nights before the beginning of the GLIAC tournament.

With freshman guard Chloe Tompkins already a scratch from the lineup due to injury, the team’s leading scorer junior guard Bre Gaspervich sat the bench for the majority of the second half due to injury, along with senior forward Kendall Martenet. Play was halted with 2:23 remaining in the game when freshman guard Tess Weatherly became the fourth injured Wildcat and had to be helped to the locker room.

“I went to Tech hoping we would leave healthy, and then all of a sudden we have three players hurt next to Tompkins,” Mattson said. “I think they’re just nagging injuries and minor, something that will take a few days to get back and ready to go.”

Tompkins has been a double-digit scoring threat for NMU all season, and Mattson said her absence “put a burden” on the Wildcat offense that has struggled to score points all season. Mattson did remain positive saying Tompkins will return for the playoffs.

Freshman center Taylor Hodell was the ’Cats’ leading scorer in Thursday’s loss with 13 points in 19 minutes.

NMU’s freshman guard and Houghton native Sydney Dillinger saw the most playing time for the ’Cats in her homecoming, spending 28 minutes on the court.

Up next for the Wildcats will be a trip to the nation’s No. 6-ranked Ashland Eagles at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1 in Ashland, Ohio.

Mattson said he expects his team to rebound from Thursday’s tough defeat.

“I’m not to worried about what happened in the loss, we just need to get ready for the next game,” Mattson said. “We’ve been beaten hard a few times this year and have turned around to earn big wins the next night. We can bounce back.”