’Cats climb division ranks

Photo+courtesy+of+NMU+Athletics.+%0ADarby+Youngstrom+drives+to+the+basket+in+Northern%E2%80%99s+recent+victory+over+Ferris+State+University.+For+the+sixth+time+this+season%2C+and+fourth+time+in+GLIAC+play%2C+NMU+women%E2%80%99s+basketball+held+their+opponent+under+50+points+on+their+way+to+defeating+Ferris+State+University+53-42.

Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics. Darby Youngstrom drives to the basket in Northern’s recent victory over Ferris State University. For the sixth time this season, and fourth time in GLIAC play, NMU women’s basketball held their opponent under 50 points on their way to defeating Ferris State University 53-42.

Levi Erkkila

The Northern Michigan University Women’s Basketball team jumped to the top of the GLIAC North Division over winter break. The ’Cats won six out of eight games over that span. A conference record of 7-1 lands the Wildcats in a second place, trailing only the South Division leaders, the Grand Valley State University Lakers; GVSU is an undefeated 8-0.

Despite the team’s success, the players believe they have room for improvement.

“Our team is happy that we are winning basketball games but definitely not satisfied,” said Darby Youngstrom, senior forward. “I think we all know that we still have a lot of room for improvement and want to continue to get better.”

All 12 Wildcats scored at least one basket in a 93-36 rout over the Lake Superior State Lakers this past Thursday. NMU scored over 20 points in each quarter in the convincing victory.

In the first five minutes of the opening quarter, Northern outscored Lake State 18-3. LSSU cut the deficit before the end of the first 10 minutes sending the Wildcats into the second quarter with a 28-12 lead.

The Wildcat defense held the Lakers to just four points in the second frame. The relentless NMU offensive continued to dominate scoring 21 second-quarter points to extend the lead to 33. The ’Cats ended the half with a 49-16 advantage.

In the third quarter, the defense shut down the LSSU attack once again, holding the Lakers to just seven points in the period. Northern scored 21 more points and took a 70-23 lead into the final frame.

The Wildcats did not take their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter. NMU outscored Lake State 23-13 in the final period. Northern notched a 93-36 win.

In Saturday’s defensive battle with the Ferris State University Bulldogs, senior forward Darby Youngstrom led the Wildcats with a double-double, 16 points and 12 rebounds. NMU’s defense held the Bulldogs to 25 percent shooting from the field. The ’Cats also held FSU to single-digit scoring in the first two quarters.

Northern jumped out to a 7-2 lead 3:31 into the game. The Wildcats held on to the lead for the rest of the quarter taking a 14-8 advantage into the second frame.

NMU increased their advantage in the second quarter. With 3:20 play in the half, the ’Cats held a 21-13 lead. The teams entered the break with the Wildcats in front 24-15.

Youngstrom answered an FSU three-pointer with nine straight points early in the second half. With 1:48 to go in the third quarter Northern had a 41-25 lead. NMU controlled the game and started the fourth quarter ahead 41-28.

FSU started the final quarter on an 8-3 run cutting the NMU lead to 44-36. Six straight points gave the Wildcats a 13-point cushion with 1:40 to play. Northern closed the game out and recorded the win.

The Wildcats will look to continue their success as they host Davenport University at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 and Grand Valley State University at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19.