Comeback falls short, NMU’s season ends at Ashland

Ray Bressette


An early first quarter deficit was too big for the women’s basketball team to overcome against the No. 5-ranked Ashland Eagles in the opening round of the GLIAC playoffs, despite a comeback in the final three frames that outplayed one of the nation’s best teams.

The Eagles maintained their pace enough to earn a 68-54 win over the Wildcats in the opening round of the GLIAC tournament, ending NMU’s season and advancing themselves to the semi-finals of the GLIAC championship.

Ashland, a team who soared to a conference title with a 20-1 record and an undefeated stance at home, defended their home court early against the Wildcats, jumping out to a 7-0 lead over an NMU team fresh off a nine-hour bus trip.

The Wildcat’s freshman guard Chloe Tompkins got her team on the scoreboard with a three-shot and a layup in her first game back from injury, pulling Ashland’s lead down to 9-5.

The Eagles responded with a 24-3 run to end the first quarter with a 26-8 lead.

The ’Cats struggled with turnovers resulting in points, as they did all season, giving up 18 turnovers in the contest compared to the Eagles’ 10. NMU was able to turn a once 25 point deficit down to a 44-24 Ashland lead with a jump shot from freshman center Taylor Hodell, who came off the bench to lead NMU in scoring with 17 points as well as rebounds with five.

Tompkins finished the night with 14 points, nine of which game in the final 4:21 of the game.

A three-point jump shot from Tompkins pulled NMU within 12 points with 2:24 remaining in the fourth quarter, forcing the Eagles to call a timeout to regroup.

Despite the comeback efforts from NMU, as the Wildcats outscored the Eagles 46-42 in the final three quarters, Ashland came out victorious to advance to the second round of the tournament.

The ’Cats’ 44.4 field goal percentage outshot Ashland’s 41.5 percent, and NMU’s 50 percent from behind the three-line ousted the Eagles’ 28.6 percent.

Senior forward Kendall Martenet started her final collegiate game, ending the night with eight points and two rebounds.

The loss was also the final match for senior forward Alyson Makovitch, who played four seasons for NMU and posted two minutes in her last game.

Junior guard Bre Gaspervich led NMU in average scoring on the season with 12 points, but while playing with injury in the tournament game she scored just three points.

With 10 of the 12 players from NMU’s roster returning next season, the Wildcats will look to build from their playoff experience and aim for their sixth-straight tournament appearance next year.