HOUGHTON, Mich. – Even though the game was played on its rival’s home court it felt like a home game for the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats, who were the crowd favorite, faced the Drury Panthers in the first semifinal game of the day at the 2010 NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Midwest Region. All the games of the tournament are being played at the SDC Gymnasium on the campus of Michigan Tech. Entering the tournament the ‘Cats were the seventh seed while Drury was the third seed.
NMU held a one-point lead after 20 minutes of play (27-26). Mariah Dunham led the ‘Cats in the first half with nine points off the bench. But in the end the Panthers defeated the ‘Cats 59-51 to move on to the championship game while NMU ends its season. The ‘Cats conclude the 2009-10 season with a 22-10 overall record. Drury is now 28-6.
NMU took the early lead about five minutes in after Dunham made both of her free throws (4-2). Drury took the lead before Holly Cole sank a three-pointer at 12:02 to even the game at nine-all. She came back about three minutes later to give the ‘Cats a 14-12 lead after her two free throws. The Panthers used a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 24-16 edge with 4:46 left in the half. A three-pointer from Kellie Rietveld and a lay-up from Angie Leckson and the ’Cats were down by one (24-23) with under a minute to go in the half. Leckson then tied the game with a made free throw before Drury connected from the charity stripe for two, before Christa Erickson ended the half with a three-pointer.
The second half began with the ‘Cats taking a 33-29 lead about three minutes gone. At 13:44 Dunham’s three-point play gave the ’Cats a five-point cushion (38-33). Drury came back to take the lead over again (39-38) with about 11 minutes left in the game. The Panthers would hold the lead the remaining minutes of the game. NMU did have the Drury lead down to 44-43 with 7:32 on the clock after another three-point play from Dunham. Drury held off the ‘Cats and with a little over a minute left in the game, Dunham drained a three-pointer for a 53-51 score. The Panthers closed out the game with a 6-0 run.
Dunham led all scorers with 24 points as she was the lone ‘Cat in double-figures. Katie Pritchard led Drury with 20 points. Dunham also led the ‘Cats off the glass with six rebounds.
For the game, NMU was 19-52 from the floor (36.5 percent). From beyond the arc the ‘Cats were 5-17 (29.4 percent). NMU was 8-13 from the charity stripe (61.5 percent). Rebounds were in favor of the Panthers (35-29).
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Sports Information Director