BALANCED — Guard Makaylee Kuhn drives to the basket. (NW File Photo  - Feb., 16, 2023)
BALANCED — Guard Makaylee Kuhn drives to the basket. (NW File Photo – Feb., 16, 2023)
Dallas Wiertella

Women’s Basketball sets up for Nationals run

NMU was ranked number three in the GLIAC conference tournament advancing all the way to the championship game ultimately falling short to Grand Valley in the end. 

Before the loss, the team hosted number six Wayne State in the quarterfinals knocking them out of the tournament with a win 51-48. 

“It’s a fun time of year and I think we’re still kind of new to it, so we’re figuring it out, but at the same time I think they’re really excited,” Head Coach Casey Thousand said. 

Junior Mackenzie Holzwart ended the game with 14 points, six rebounds, and two assists. 

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The team advanced and traveled downstate for the remainder of the tournament. The team next played the number two team in the tournament Ferris State in the semifinals. The Wildcats got the win 63-56. 

“It’s never easy playing a team three times … we battled and we put our heart and soul into that game and it was awesome to see people were making big plays and big shots and big blocks,” Thousand said. “I mean it was a little bit of everybody … it was exhausting but exciting, and exhilarating all at the same time.” 

Sophomore Jacy Weisbrod scored 16 points with four rebounds and one assist. Sophomore Sarah Newcomer ended the game with 15 points, four rebounds, and two assists. 

The Wildcats advanced to the championship game where they fall short of Grand Valley 48-67. Junior Ana Rhude had 13 points and two rebounds in the game. Coming off the GLIAC tournament the Wildcats are now looking at the NCAA tournament where they are the fourth seed taking place in Allendale, MI. This is the first time since 2019 the Wildcats have made the tournament. The last time the Wildcats beat Ashland 64-57 in the first round but fell short in the second round to Drury. 

“I told our team it’s going to be a little different being in the NCAA tournament … it’s just a fun experience,” Thousand said. “I told them yesterday … ‘hey enjoy every moment because this is what it’s all about. You work so hard to get to the NCAA tournament.’”

The first game the Wildcats play is against the number five seed Kentucky Wesleyan in the religion quarterfinals. If the Cats advance to the semifinals they will either play the number one seed Grand Valley or the number eight seed Trevecca depending on the outcome of both games. 

“[Kentucky Wesleyan] they’re fast and they’re quick. We just got to use our length and our size to our advantage, and I think it’s going to be a great battle and going to be fun,” Thousand said. 

The tournament for the ‘Cats will start on Friday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m.

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