MARQUETTE, Mich. – With the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team clinging to a one-point lead (61-60) with two ticks remaining on the clock Thursday, Kellie Rietveld walked to the free throw line and proceeded to sink both of her throws to give the Wildcats a 63-60 win over the visiting Saginaw Valley State Cardinals.
In the process the ‘Cats snapped its two-game skid and positioned itself to host a first round game in the upcoming Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Women’s Basketball Tournament. A win Saturday against Lake Superior State would wrap up a home date for the tournament. NMU could use a little help from Findlay, Grand Valley State or Hillsdale because a loss by one of them would also give NMU a home date. Saturday’s game against the Lakers has an early tipoff of 11 a.m.
The win improves the ‘Cats record to 18-8 overall and 15-6 in the GLIAC. Saginaw Valley State falls to 7-19 and 5-16 respectively.
After spotting the Cardinals a 2-0 lead the ‘Cats used an 11-2 run over the next three plus minutes to take an 11-4 lead. Ten of the points came from Christa Erickson as she sank two three-pointers and Rietveld added four points. With a little under 14 minutes showing on the clock, Hillary Bowling gave NMU a 10-point cushion (16-6). The Cardinals cut into the ‘Cats lead and had it down to seven points (21-14)at 9:12 before Rietveld sank a three-point of her own to put the lead back up to 10. Holly Cole gave NMU a 15-ppint lead with 1:30 left in the half after she sank a triple of her own. The ‘Cats ended the first half with a 37-24 lead.
The second half began with NMU extending its lead to 11 points (43-32) at 16:21 after a lay-up by Christa Erickson. Saginaw Valley State used a three-pointer to get to within five at 48-43 with 10:51 left in the game. Two made free throws by Angie Leckson and a three-pointer by Erickson had the ‘Cats up by 10 once again (53-43). The Cardinals used an 8-6 run for a two-point game at 5:03 (57-55). Back-to-back lay-ups by Elicia Derusha and Erin Powers gave NMU a six-point game (61-55) with a little over four minutes left on the clock. A three-pointer and a lay-up by the Cardinals set up Rietveld’s free throws.
Erickson ended the game with a team-high 13 points. Rietveld added 11 points and six rebounds. Derusha recorded a team-leading nine rebounds. Brittany Burkhardt led the Cardinals with 17 points.
For the game the ‘Cats were 20-63 from the floor (31.7 percent). From beyond the arc NMU was 8-28 (28.6 percent). Erickson made three three-pointers to pace the ‘Cats. From the charity stripe NMU was 15-19 (78.9 percent). The ‘Cats had the advantage off the glass (45-37) for the game.
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Sports Information Director