Rebound win against the Pride

Sophomore+guard%2Fforward+Lexi+Smith+dribbles+down+the+lane+in+a+previous+home+matchup+against+Michigan+Tech+University.+Smith+has+appeared+in+each+of+the+21+games+played+this+season.%0APhoto+courtesy+of+NMU+Athletics

Sophomore guard/forward Lexi Smith dribbles down the lane in a previous home matchup against Michigan Tech University. Smith has appeared in each of the 21 games played this season.
Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics

Levi Erkkila

The Northern Michigan Women’s Basketball team hit the road this past weekend for a pair of GLIAC contents with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (UWP) Rangers and the Purdue University Northwest (PNW) Pride. Despite a career-high 21-point performance from senior forward Darby Youngstrom on Thursday, the Wildcats fell 72-64 to Parkside. NMU responded Saturday with 44-40 victory over the Rangers.

Thursday’s game also saw action from sophomore forward Lexi Smith who chipped in with 13 points and finished with a team-best of three steals. Sophomore guard Elizabeth Lutz notched 12 points while junior forward Erin Honkala contributed seven points and paced the team with eight rebounds.

The Wildcats jumped out to an 11-5 lead to begin Thursday’s game. The Rangers were able to go on a 13-5 run to finish out the quarter and Parkside took an 18-15 advantage into the second frame.

The Rangers started the second quarter with 10 unanswered points, taking a 28-15 lead with four minutes left in the half. Northern cut the deficit down to 28-19 with 2:44 to play. The teams entered the break with Parkside leading 32-21.

Early in the third quarter, the Wildcats closed the gap to nine with the score at 34-25. Parkside extended their lead to 38-29 with three minutes to play in the quarter. The Rangers scored a basket at the end of the third quarter giving Parkside a 46-33 lead.

Starting the the fourth quarter, NMU was unable to cut into the Ranger lead and with 7:21 to play in the game, the Wildcats trailed 53-40. Northern hit a three to cut the lead to 67-57 with 1:28 to play. The deficit proved to be too much for the Wildcats, and Parkside captured the 72-64 victory.

In Saturday’s game, junior center Jessica Schultz led the Wildcats with 13 points. Schultz also had three blocked shots and nine rebounds. Lutz added nine points while Youngstrom and Smith both tallied eight points. Youngstrom and Honkala also added a team-best of 10 rebounds.

PNW opened the game strong and with 4:26 to play in the quarter, the Pride had a 10-2 advantage. With 1:16 on the clock the Pride had a 19-9 lead. The teams failed to score before the end of the first frame and NMU trailed by 10 heading into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, the Wildcat offense woke up and cut the lead to 19-18 with 6:21 to go in the half. With 4:53 to play in the first half, NMU gained their first lead of the game. The Pride regained the lead 23-22 with 2:43 to go. The Wildcats managed to tie the game before half time and the score was deadlocked at 25-25.

In the third quarter, NMU again outshot their opponent coming out of the break, this time the the tune of a 32-27 lead four minutes into the second half. Northern’s 5-3 run to finish the third quarter gave the Wildcats a 37-30 lead heading into the final frame.

The ’Cats scored two more points, advancing the lead to 9 points. The Pride answered and made it a two points game, 39-37 with 4:14 to go. With only nine seconds left, the Wildcats clung to a 42-37 advantage. The Pride hit a three seconds later, but two NMU free throws in the final seconds would secure the 44-40 win.

The Wildcats improve to 15-6 on the season and are now 10-3 in the GLIAC. NMU will return to action at the Berry Events Center at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, to take on Saginaw Valley State University. And at 1 p.m. on Saturday, NMU will celebrate Senior Day as they take on Northwood University.