W Basketball: ‘Cats splits weekends, Makaylee Kuhn shines in historic win against LSSU

NMU looks ahead to more conference play, sitting at No. 4 in the GLIAC.
SMASHING RECORDS — Masters student Makaylee Kuhn breaks the all-time scoring record for the program.
SMASHING RECORDS — Master’s student Makaylee Kuhn breaks the all-time scoring record for the program.
Caden Sierra/NW

The NMU women’s basketball team played a pair of games at home over the weekend, the first seeing a historic victory against Lake Superior State on Thursday, followed by a challenging battle against the No. 11 ranked Ferris State Bulldogs on Saturday. After the weekend, the Wildcats sit with a 4-2 GLIAC record and an overall record of 10-5.

Thursday night’s game at the Berry Events Center was a special one as in the third quarter master’s student Makaylee Kuhn secured her position as the all-time scoring leader for the NMU women’s basketball team with 1,723 career points and counting. The record had previously been set by Lisa Maki, who played for NMU through the 1988-1991 seasons, accumulating 1,699 career points.

“We were kind of waiting for it to happen,” Head Coach Casey Thousand said. “It’s just really cool to see a player who you can coach and be a part of something with their journey and how [much] hard work she puts in …. It’s been a really good season, but we’re excited for what she’s [Kuhn] gonna do here going forward as well.”

The record-setting match unfolded in a decisive 76-49 victory over Lake Superior State. Thousand acknowledged the team’s slow start on Thursday as the ‘Cats started the contest being outscored in the first quarter of the game 13-14.

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“I think once [Kuhn] hit her mark and everybody kind of relaxed a little bit … it just started forward from there,” Thousand said.

The ‘Cats would then swiftly control the rest of the game, securing the win.

However, Saturday brought a test for the ‘Cats as they faced the Ferris State Bulldogs. Thousand recognized the strength of their opponent.

“You had to play a really, really clean game and a really well-executed game,” she said.

Despite having moments of brightness, the ‘Cats struggled to finish on key transition plays which the Bulldogs would capitalize on and scored with points of their own.

“You got to make it count for a full 40 minutes,” Thousand said. “You can’t take a play off because a good team will come and get you.”

The Wildcats ended up falling short with a final score of 79-67.

The team is now looking ahead to upcoming GLIAC play, with matchups against Purdue Northwest and Parkside. Thousand acknowledged the competitive nature of Purdue Northwest, emphasizing the need for a strong defensive strategy against Purdue’s talented post players and highly talented guard. The match against Parkside holds an additional benefit as many of the team’s roster is from Wisconsin, creating a sense of comfort on the road.

“It’s kind of like a home game for us,” Thousand said. “We get a lot of fans there.”

As the team looks to navigate through the conference schedule, Thousand mentioned her excitement about the confidence that can be gained from facing top-tier competition. 

“We can play with the best people in our league,” she said. “We just got to clean some things up … take two or three possessions away and it could swing either way.” 

Thousand remains optimistic about the team’s potential to grow as the ‘Cats continue to search for success in the second half of the season. The Wildcats will face off against Purdue Northwest on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. and Parkside on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 2:00 p.m. Both games will be on the road.

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