MARQUETTE, Mich. – It took a senior playing in her next to last game at the Berry Events Center to take down the fifth ranked team in the country Thursday. Kelsey Deacon drained a three-pointer off an intentional missed free throw by Steffani Stoeger with six seconds left in the game for the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team to defeat the Hillsdale College Chargers 69-68.
The Wildcats improve to 13-11 overall on the season and 8-11 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play. The Chargers fall to 21-3 and 16-3 respectively.
It might have been a different game if the ‘Cats could have made a basket in the first nine minutes of the game. NMU was 0-13 from the floor at that point in the game and trailing 15-0. The ‘Cats received back-to-back three-pointers from Christa Erickson and Kellie Rietveld for a 19-6 game with 9:29 left before the half. Deacon made a jumper at 6:37 to get NMU to within 10 at 22-12. Stoeger with her jumper at 6:09 had the Hillsdale lead down to under nine points (23-14). With the Chargers holding a 29-16 lead Stoeger stroked a three-pointer at 4:04 for a 29-19 game. A little over two minutes left before half Deacon had the game to eight points (31-23). NMU was down by 10 after 20 minutes of play (33-23).
NMU used a 13-9 run in the beginning of the second half to get back in the game. Erickson’s jumper at 13:38 put the Hillsdale lead at 42-36. Holly Cole came off the bench to hit one from beyond the arc at 12:31 to cut into the Chargers lead (42-39). Deacon gave NMU its first lead of the game (53-52) with 7:36 showing on the clock on a lay-up. Hillsdale used an 8-2 run over a span of about three minutes for a 60-55 lead. Hillsdale held a 64-57 lead with 2:44 left in regulation. Stoeger’s lay-up with 36 seconds left gave NMU new life, but still trailing, at 66-65. The Chargers’ Katie Cezat made two of her four free throws with less than 30 seconds left in the game (68-65). After a time out, Steoger went to the free throw line and made her first free throw with seven seconds left in the game (68-66). Angie Leckson picked off the rebound to Deacon for the win on the second free throw. Stoeger ended the game with 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. For the game Stoeger was 1-2 from the free throw line.
Deacon led NMU with 23 points as she also chipped in with six rebounds. She only had six points at the half. Rietveld was the third starter in double-figures with 12 points. Cezat led the Chargers with a double-double of 32 points and 21 rebounds.
The ‘Cats for the game were 27-63 from the floor (42.9 percent). From the three-point line, NMU was 9-21 (42.9 percent). Deacons made three of the nine three-pointers. NMU attempted nine free throws and made six (66.7 percent). The ‘Cats won the battle of the rebounds with a 37-33 edge.
The ‘Cats host the Findlay Oilers Saturday (Feb. 21) in the regular season home finale at 1 p.m.
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Sports Information Director