HOUGHTON, Mich. – Entering Saturday’s game at Michigan Tech the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team had not beaten the Huskies since a 68-60 win in February 2004. Throw in the fact that MTU was the top ranked team in the USA Today/ESPN Division II Coaches’ Poll the Wildcats seemed to have its hands full. Playing in Marquette less than a month ago the Wildcats gave the Huskies all they could handle, but dropped the game 64-59.
Fast forward to the first game in the New Year for the ‘Cats. NMU held a five-point lead at the half (26-21) and with some converted free throws in crunch time took the game 53-47. With the win the ‘Cats improve to 8-3 overall on the season and 5-1 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). For the Huskies it was their first loss on the season as they are now 10-1 and 5-1 respectively.
NMU held a five-point lead (9-4) about five minutes into the game when Steffani Stoeger converted a lay-up. MTU tied the game at nine-all about a minute later before the ‘Cats went on a 6-0 run, as Mariah Dunham made three baskets in a row, to take a 15-9 lead with 10:47 left in the half. MTU cut into the lead, but the ‘Cats answered as they held a 21-15 lead with 4:05 showing on the clock after a Hillary Bowling lay-up. A jumper by Elicia Derusha also gave the ‘Cats a six-point cushion at 23-17 with less than three minutes before halftime. Bowling capped off the first half by draining a three-pointer.
NMU held the lead the entire 20 minutes of the second half. With 12:44 left in regulation the ‘Cats held a 10-point lead (41-31) after Dunham’s lay-up. MTU were within striking distance with 7:42 as they were down by one (43-42) then the ‘Cats answered with a three-pointer by Bowing and a lay-up by Dunham for a 48-42 lead with five minutes and some change left in the game. With less than two minutes left in regulation the Huskies again were knocking on the door after three made free throw sand the score 48-47 in favor of the ‘Cats. The remainder of the game the ‘Cats sank five of six free throws to ice the win. Stoeger made three free throws while Derusha sank two.
Dunham led all scorers with a game-high 16 points. Bowling off the bench added 14 as she was 4-6 from the floor which included 3-4 from beyond the arc. Derusha ended the game with 10 rebounds while Stoeger added five assists. Katie Wysocky led the Huskies with 14 points.
NMU was 18-60 from the floor for the game (30 percent). From three-point land the ‘Cats were 5-20 (25 percent). NMU was 12-16 from the free throw line (75 percent). The ‘Cats won the battle along the glass with a 44-37 count.
NMU hits the road with games at Tiffin (Jan. 7) and Ashland (Jan. 9) this coming week.
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Sports Information Director