MARQUETTE, Mich. – Thursday’s women’s basketball game between the Northern Michigan University Wildcats and the Lakers of Grand Valley State turned out to be a battle. On the line was sole possession of second place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division. Also positioning in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region was on the line. In the latest ranking the Wildcats were fourth and the Lakers sixth.
NMU held a 41-32 lead after the first 20 minutes of play, but hot shooting by Grand Valley State in the second half (51.7 percent on 15-29) pulled out the win for the Lakers (69-66). NMU falls to 16-6 overall and 13-4 in the GLIAC. The Lakers improve to 17-5 and 14-3 respectively.
Grand Valley State held an early lead in the first half. Mariah Dunham’s jumper at 12:51 gave the ‘Cats a 16-12 edge. With the score 16-14, NMU went on a 12-0 run to take a 28-14 lead with less than 10 minutes to go in the half. The run was highlighted by three three-pointers from Holly Cole off the bench. Angie Leckson’s jumper at 5:11 had the ‘Cats up by 14 points (34-20). Elicia Derusha’s lay-up at 1:20 held the lead at 14 points (41-27). As that would be how the half ended.
About two plus minutes into the second half the Lakers tied the game at 41-all. Three minutes later Derusha gave NMU a five-point lead after draining a three-pointer (48-43). Grand Valley State tied the game up once again at 50-all with a little more than 13 minutes left in regulation. The Lakers regained control over the lead until Dunham hit a jumper and then Leckson sank both of her free throws (56-52) with 9:10 showing on the clock. Steffani Stoeger’s lay-up at 6:28 had the ‘Cats up three (60-57). Back-to-back baskets by the Lakers had them back in the driver’s seat (61-60) with a little more than four minutes left in the game. About 20 seconds later Leckson gave the ‘Cats the lead again (62-61) after sinking both of her free throws. The game would be tied at 64-all for the seventh time before the Lakers took a two-point lead (66-64) with less than two minutes left in regulation. Dunham made both of her free throws with 42 ticks left on the clock to tie the game at 66-all. Grand Valley State converted a lay-up and then made one of its two free throw attempts for the final score.
Dunham led the ‘Cats off the bench with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Twelve of her points came from the free throw line as she was 12-13. Derusha and Leckson ended the game in double-figures with 12 and 11 points respectively. Alex Stelfox led the Lakers with 17 points.
For the game the ‘Cats were 20-47 from the floor (42.6 percent). That included 6-20 from the three –point line 30 percent). Cole was perfect from beyond the arc as she made all three of her attempts. NMU was 20-23 from the from the free throw (87 percent). Rebounds were in favor of the visitors (34-29).
The ‘Cats face Ferris State Saturday morning (Feb. 13) at 11 a.m. at the Berry Events Center.
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Sports Information Director