MARQUETTE, Mich. – After trailing for the first 35 minutes of the game, the Northern Michigan women’s basketball team mounted a furious second half charge to take a thrilling 70-69 win over visiting Wayne State Thursday (Feb. 2) at the Berry Events Center.
With the win, NMU improves to 9-11 on the season and 5-8 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Wildcats also snapped a four-game losing streak. WSU falls to 11-10 on the season and 6-8 in the GLIAC.
The Warriors jumped out to an early 14-2 lead with 13:50 left on the clock in the first half. The ‘Cats struggled to shot in the early minutes, going nearly five minutes without scoring a basket as the Warriors led early. WSU’s center Juanita Cochran took command early for the Warriors, netting 10 points and six rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
NMU rebounded offensively down the stretch before the half and capitalized at the free throw line. Senior forward Staci Beckel trimmed the lead to just two possessions in the final seconds before WSU connected on a pair of free throws to take a 41-33 lead into the break.
The ‘Cats managed to match the pace of the Warriors to start the second half and sliced the WSU lead to just one point with 6:19 to go with a put-back from freshman guard Lauren Gruber. NMU then took the lead for just the second time in the game with a layup from senior guard Chelsea Lyons with just over four minutes to go. Freshman center Courtney Lemon then nailed the dagger with one of her career high five, three-pointers with 3:31 on the clock.
The Warriors still had some steam left in them, when they trimmed the ‘Cats lead to just 70-69 with a pair of made free throws with under a minute to go. Deiona Rogers took the ball out of a timeout for WSU with under 10 seconds to go and missed the go ahead layup right before the buzzer sounded.
NMU was led by Lyons with 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Lemon netted another double-double during her young career and a career-high in points with 20 points and 10 boards. Freshman guard Alyssa Colla also chipped in nine points.
The Warriors were led by Cochran with 12 points. WSU placed four players in double figures.
NMU shot only 32.8 percent (21-for-64) from the field and 38.7 percent (12-for-31) from long-range.
The Warriors outrebounded the ‘Cats, 46-41 and held the advantage on bench points at 18-6.
NMU is back in action this Saturday (Feb. 4) at the Berry Events Center when its host Findlay. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. with the men’s game to follow afterwards.
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