Wildcats’ Women’s Basketball season ends in GLIAC Tournament with 61-45 loss to Davenport


Dallas Wiertella/NW

BOWING OUT—NMU sophomore guard Samantha Potter goes up for the contested layup over two Davenport defenders last season. The NMU Women’s basketball team is going up against Lake State and Ferris State and hopes to improve both defense and offensive strategies.

Dallas Wiertella

The Northern Michigan Women’s Basketball team clashed with the Davenport Panthers on Tuesday night in their first game of the GLIAC Tournament. After a long struggle, the Panthers took the victory back to lower Michigan with a final score of 61-45.

The Wildcats closed their season with a final overall 10-9 record and a heartbreaking defeat. The ‘Cats put up a good fight until the final buzzer, even when the odds became stacked against them. Never holding a lead at the end of a quarter, they still showed they were not going to back down even taking a one-point fourth-quarter lead, 42-41.

“Let’s give Davenport a lot of credit there. You could tell before the game that they were really focused and committed to playing harder than us, and they did,” Head Coach Troy Mattson said in a Zoom press conference. “That’s something we need to learn, you can’t have people come into your home, especially in a tournament game, and outplay you for the majority of the night.”

The Wildcats had a tough time shooting the ball this game: 31% from the field, 26% from the 3-point line and 50% from the free-throw line. While NMU had an improved game on the defensive end, their offense performed lower than what the team has shown this season.

“On the defensive end I saw some things that we tried to concentrate on,” Mattson said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very good and we’ve been shooting the ball well. They shot the ball extremely well and we didn’t.”

The ‘Cats still had some heroes on the court despite the loss. With her career-high of 17 points, freshman guard Kayla Tierney stepped up to the challenge and played to her best to close the distance between the clashing teams’ scores. She was followed by junior forward Elena Alaix with 10 and previous star player sophomore guard Makaylee Kuhn with six after Davenport buckled down on her, making sure she was as out of the game as possible. 

“They were very focused on taking Makaylee [Kuhn] out of the game,” Mattson said. “We were really high on Kayla [Tierney]. She is going to continue to get better, she is a great shooter, but for the most part, as a freshman, she wasn’t afraid of the scene tonight and she stepped up.”

This season has been tough on the ‘Cats with COVID-19 and practice restrictions. With a team of mainly freshmen and sophomores, the extra time is needed to really bring the team together and teach them what they need to be taught. There is hope for a better, less restricted season next year. 

“We got some really talented kids in here, just not ready. I felt it all year, we didn’t have a chance to get them prepared properly and it showed tonight,” Mattson said. “There are no excuses anymore, we are 100% committed to what you will see on the court next year.” 

 “We will be back with a vengeance,” Mattson said.