The Northern Michigan University Women’s Basketball team returns to the GLIAC Tournament for the first time in seven years and will travel to take on the Grand Valley State University Lakers in a quarterfinal matchup. The Wildcats are the sixth seed and the Lakers are seeded third. NMU played the Lakers twice this year, losing both matchups, the first game in Grand Valley 66-59 in double-overtime and then at home 52-38.
The ’Cats hosted the Davenport University Panthers (DU) and the Wayne State University Warriors (WSU) over the weekend. The Wildcats won both games, defeating Davenport 55-44 Thursday and taking down Wayne State Saturday, 67-66.
Thursday’s victory was built on quality defensive play. The game was back and forth all night, with neither team able to create any separation from the other. The Wildcats were finally able to lock down the Panthers late in the fourth quarter. Davenport was shut down by an aggressive defense, as NMU conceded zero points in the final seven minutes of the game.
Freshman forward Lexi Smith led the team with 22 points and went 11-11 from the free-throw line. Sophomore center Jessica Schultz chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds, while junior guard Emily Schramek grabbed eight rebounds of her own. Junior guard Sydney Dillinger finished with seven rebounds and a team-high three assists, while also tying Smith with two steals.
Saturday’s game against Wayne State University came down to the wire, with the score even throughout the fourth quarter. Tied with two seconds remaining, Dillinger hit a clutch free throw with the pressure on. Wayne State lined up to inbound, but the ball was tipped and went out of bounds with no time remaining, giving the Wildcats the one-point win.
NMU had four players in double digits in the team’s final home game of the season. Smith led the team with 19 points, while junior guard Tess Weatherly hit career-highs with five three-pointers and 15 points. Schultz added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds and Dillinger added 10 points.
NMU finished the regular season with a record of 15-13 and went 11-9 in the GLIAC with an 8-9 record on the road.