Women’s Basketball sweeps opener tourney

AnnMarie Kent

As the weather grows colder the air in the Berry Events Center gets a bit warmer. The Women’s Basketball team hosts its home opener on Friday after a blow-out opening weekend on the road.

re-basketball11-etThe team traveled to Allendale, Michigan to participate in the Great Lakes Valley Conference/Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Crossover Tournament.

In their first game the Wildcats faced off against the Truman State University Bulldogs. The ’Cats came out with a 59-56 victory over the Bulldogs. Sophomore guard Darby Youngstrom pulled ahead as the point leader with 15. Senior guard Bre Gaspervich led in assists with 5. The team had a 34.9 field goal percentage and grabbed 37 rebounds.

They continued the weekend with a matchup against Quincy University where NMU won 59-46. Sophomore guard Chloe Tompkins led the team with 16 points and sophomore guard Tess Weatherly had four assists. During the game the team had a 31.9 field goal percentage and had 25 rebounds. They were able to create 23 points off of their 17 turnovers.

Head coach Troy Mattson was happy with the team’s performance over the weekend, highlighting the hard work from the freshmen.

“Other than the first game, first quarter nervous jitters that we had, we played seven really solid quarters of basketball,” Mattson said.

Tompkins attributed the team’s success to having strong players all around.

“We’ve got a lot of depth on the bench,” Thompkins said. “We’re able to push the pace a lot more than we have in the past because we know we’ve got backups who are going to be able to go in and give really good minutes.”

Coming off a 13-16 overall record last season and a 12-10 record within the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the team has set high expectations for this season. Mattson said the ultimate goal would be to win the GLIAC North Division.

In coaches’ preseason polls NMU was ranked to come out fifth out of eight in the GLIAC North. Grand Valley State University was favored to win division, with Saginaw Valley State University coming in second.

Tompkins said the team also has some personal goals as well. Gaspervich is the lone senior on the team and Tompkins said she hopes to have a good season to highlight Gaspervich’s great career as a Wildcat. Gaspervich led the team last season in field goals and averaged 12.7 points per game. Her focus is to fine tune things within the team.

“We should try to get better at every game, try to fix the little things and all come together,” Gaspervich said.

Being the only senior and a high-achieving player, Gaspervich is looked to as a leader by the underclassmen on the team and she said that only makes her want to play better.

“I feel that it drives [me] to play better and know that we just have to get everybody going and keep them together,” Gaspervich said.

The Wildcats begin their season at home by hosting Concordia University-St. Paul at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18 and the University of Minnesota-Crookston at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19.
Mattson said to reach their goal they need to play well every game.

“In order to get that [goal] you have to take each game, as every coach says, one-by-one,” Mattson said.

So the team is focusing on Concordia-St. Paul and not looking at the bigger picture just yet.

Tompkins said in order to reach all of the team’s goals they need multiple players to pull ahead as leaders so they don’t have to lean on just a couple of players to put up those points. Having freshmen come in and play well in the first couple of games was important.

“They are going to be really helpful and influential players this year for us,” Tompkins said.

Both women agreed that the team has had good chemistry on and off the court so far.

“Ever since the beginning of the preseason we’ve been clicking—at every practice and every time we get on the court together,” Gaspervich said.