MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team used a scoring outpour in the second half to come back to down the Ashland University Eagles Saturday afternoon at the Berry Events Center. Down 41-33 at the half the Wildcats out-scored the Eagles in the second 20 minutes of play 48-34 to take the game 81-75.
NMU improves to 8-5 overall on the season and 3-5 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). AU falls to 9-4 and 5-3 respectively.
NMU began the game with a 9-4 run out of the gate to take the lead with about three minutes gone. The Eagles chipped away and took the 10-9 lead at 14:41 before Cassie Rushford hit back-to-back three-pointers to give NMU the 15-10 edge (12:44). Kelsey Deacon added a jumper at 12:08 for a 17-10 NMU lead. The ‘Cats held the lead until 7:14 when AU took over the lead 24-23. The Eagles held the lead the rest of the half.
NMU used an 18-11 run the first six plus minutes of the second half to get back in the game. Deacon converted a lay-up at 14:30 which cut the Eagles lead to 52-51. NMU kept the game close as the two teams traded baskets for the next five minutes. Christa Erickson gave the ‘Cats the lead once again 64-62 with 8:24 left in the game when she hit from beyond the arc. Deacon extended the lead when she converted a lay-up and then hit a free throw (67-62). With a little over five minutes left in the game, Kellie Rietveld tied the game when she sank both of her free throws (71-71). Erin Powers gave the ‘Cats the lead for good at 4:31 when she made a lay-up for a 73-71 score.
Back-to-back baskets by Deacon gave the ‘Cats a seven-point cushion (77-71) with a little over four minutes left in the game. AU would not give up as they converted back-to-back baskets of their own to cut the NMU lead to 77-75 with under a minute left in the game. Deacon sealed the win with a jumper with 13 ticks left on the clock for the 79-75 score. She then added two free throws with four seconds left in the game for the final margin.
Deacon tied a career-high with her 29 points on the day to be the game’s top scorer. She had six points at halftime and added five assists. Deacon for the game was 11-19 from the floor which included 2-9 from the three-point line and 5-5 from the free throw line. Cassie Hegbloom was the only other ‘Cat in double-figures with 10 points. Angie Leckson off the bench led NMU by pulling down six rebounds. Lisa Graue led the Eagles with 17 points.
NMU was 30-61 from the floor (49.2 percent). From three-point land the ‘Cats were 8-20 (40 percent). NMU was 13-16 from the free throw line (81.3 percent). The ‘Cats had a seven-rebound advantage by a 36-29 count.
The ‘Cats are on the road for its next two games. NMU is at Findlay Thursday (Jan. 15) and then travel to Hillsdale Saturday (Jan. 17).
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Sports Information Director