MARQUETTE, Mich. – After a thrilling victory Thursday over Hillsdale College the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team had an important game against the University of Findlay Oilers Saturday at the Berry Events Center. On the line was the upper hand for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) tournament. The Wildcats were up by six points at the half (32-26), but fell a little short to the Oilers by a score of 76-71.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 13-12 overall on the season and 8-12 in the GLIAC. Findlay improves to 13-12 and 8-12 respectively.
About four plus minutes into the game the ‘Cats had a 10-2 lead after two free throws by Steffani Stoeger. The Oilers had the NMU lead down to one point 13-12 at 12:34 before Brynn Larsen made a jumper for a 15-12 game. Holly Cole and Cassi Rushford made back-to-back baskets to give NMU the 20-12 lead. At 7:03 Stoeger gave NMU the 23-16 lead after her jumper. The Oilers had the NMU lead down to two points (28-26) before Kelsey Deacon’s jumper and a lay-up by Stoeger (32-26) to end the half.
Findlay used a 9-3 run to begin the second half to tie the game at 35-all about four minutes and change into the half. NMU went on a little bit of a cold spell as the Oilers rattled off 12 points in a row to take a 47-35 lead at 12:08. Kellie Rietveld’s three-point play was the ‘Cats first score in about four minutes (47-38). The Oilers built a 13-point cushion at 53-40 with less than 10 minutes left in the game. With five minutes left in the game the Oilers had a 17-point lead. NMU chipped away at the lead and had it down to less than 10 points at 3:45 on two free throws by Deacon (65-56). Stoeger’s three-pointer at 3:30 had the lead down to six points (65-59). After an exchange of baskets, Deacon hit a three-pointer at 2:10 to make the game 69-64. Findlay converted four free throws before Stoeger hit a three-pointer with a tick under a minute left in the game for a 73-68 score. Deacon’s three-pointer with 30 second left gave the ‘Cats a chance at 74-71. Findlay made two free throws for the final score.
Stoeger tied a career high with her 27 points for the game. She was 8-10 from the floor which included 4-5 from beyond the arc. Deacon was the other starter in double-figures with 23 points. Christa Erickson off the bench had six rebounds to lead the ‘Cats. Laura Bardall led the Oilers with 24 points.
After shooting 44.4 percent in the first half (12-27) the ‘Cats cooled off a bit in the second half to 34.3 percent (12-35) and ended the game by shooting 38.7 percent (24-62). NMU shot 34.6 percent from the three-point line (9-26). The ‘Cats shot 66.7 percent from the free throw line (14-21). Findlay outrebounded the ‘Cats 46-36.
The ‘Cats will conclude the regular season by taking to the road to face Saginaw Valley State (Feb. 26) and Lake Superior State (Feb. 28).
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Sports Information Director