MARQUETTE, Mich. – Timely hitting of some outside shots and sound defensive play gave the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team an 81-65 win over the visiting Ashland Eagles Thursday at the Berry Events Center. The win was payback for the Eagles defeating the Wildcats a couple of weeks ago in Ashland, 69-64. Tonight’s victory was the ‘Cats sixth in a row.
NMU ranked fifth in this week’s NCAA Division II Midwest Region ranking is currently 15-5 overall on the season and 12-3 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play. Ashland falls to 11-9 and 7-8 respectively.
With the score tied at 10-all about five minutes into the game the ‘Cats took at 13-10 lead thanks to a three-pointer from Christa Erickson. Holly Cole came off the bench to drain another three-pointer at 11:28 for a 20-14 NMU lead. Kellie Rietveld gave the ‘Cats a 24-19 lead at 8:04. Elicia Derusha gave NMU a nine-point cushion, 30-21, with 6:51 left in the half. Derusha converted a three-point play with about five minutes remaining in the half for a double-digit lead for the ‘Cats (35-25). The Eagles cut into the NMU lead, but the NMU answered with a lay-up by Derusha as she then sank two free throws. The half ended with the ‘Cats taking a 41-33 lead into the locker room.
The second half saw the ‘Cats keep the lead as it went above 10 when Cole drained a three-pointer at 15:10 (56-45). About two minutes later the ‘Cats had the lead up to 17 points (62-45) after a lay-up by Mariah Dunham. After another three-pointer from Cole the ‘Cats lead was now 20 points at 12:17 (65-45). With about six minutes left in the contest Rietveld gave the ‘Cats a 76-54 lead after her lay-up. NMU did not score the final four plus minutes of the game.
Cole led the ‘Cats with 16 points. She was 5-9 from beyond the arc. Also off the bench Dunham added 14 points. Derusha ended the game with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. Erickson was the fourth ‘Cat in double-figures as she ended the game with 11 points. Rietveld had eight of the 18 NMU assists on the night. Lindsey Gaut led the Eagles with 16 points.
NMU was 27-54 from the floor for the game (50 percent). From the three-point line the ‘Cats were 11-22 (50 percent). With 22 free throw attempts the ‘Cats converted 16 of the throws (72.7 percent). NMU had the edge off the glass against the Eagles 38-27.
NMU will play its second game of the week at the Berry Events Center Saturday (Feb. 6) against the Dragons of Tiffin University at 1 p.m.
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Sports Information Director