MARQUETTE, Mich. - Senior forward Hillary Bowling pieced together her finest performance of the season in her final regular season game, as the Northern Michigan women’s basketball team defeated Saginaw Valley State, 76-61, Saturday (Feb. 25) at the Berry Events Center.
Bowling connected on 7-for-12 from three-point land and fellow senior guard Chelsea Lyons netted 18 points, as the Wildcat seniors were sent out in fashion on Senior Day.
“Hillary (Bowling) played amazing today,” head coach Troy Mattson. “She was on point from the three all day long.”
With the win, the ‘Cats improve to 13-13 on the season and 9-10 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. NMU has also locked in a spot in the upcoming GLIAC Tournament. SVSU finishes the season at 6-20 on the season and 4-15 in the GLIAC.
The ‘Cats opened the game with a 3-0 lead when Bowling nailed her first of seven treys at the 18:51 mark. The Cardinals answered with a 5-0 run, to take a 10-5 lead with a layup from Kayla Womack with 13:03 left in the first half.
After trading leads over the next four minutes of play, NMU took control of the game for good when Bowling sank another long ball to put the ‘Cats up 17-16 with 9:46 to go in the half.
NMU went into the break, up 36-31 through 20 minutes of play.
The Cardinals began the second half trimming away at the ‘Cats lead at the charity stripe. SVSU cut the lead to just four points when Womack sank a basket with 15:36 left on the clock.
The ‘Cats answered the call, going on a 15-0 run over a three minute stretch to take a 63-41 lead with 8:07 left to play. During the stretch, freshman guard Lauren Gruber continued her recent hot streak, netting nine points, all from beyond the arc.
“I’m really excited about the freshman class,” Mattson said. “Lauren (Gruber) and Alyssa Colla have played great this season and I look forward to next season with them.”
That 15-0 run by NMU proved to be the dagger, as the ‘Cats cruised to a 76-61 win and enter the GLIAC Tournament on a two-game win streak.
The ‘Cats were led by Bowling with 21 points, all from beyond the arc and seven boards. Bowling’s seven made three’s ties a career-high. Lyons also netted 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
NMU shot 50 percent (27-for-54) from the field and a blazing 48.5 percent (16-for-33) from three-point land.
SVSU was led by Kristen Greene with 15 points and six rebounds.
The Cardinals held the edge on the glass, outrebounding the ‘Cats 32-28.
Following the conclusion of the game, NMU’s three senior, Bowling, Lyons and Staci Beckel were recognized.
“Today was a great way to honor our seniors,” Mattson said. “Everyone saw action in the game, which is nice to end the regular season like that.”
The Wildcats await word on where they will be seeded for next week’s GLIAC Tournament. NMU will be on the road for the tournament. Check back for an update on the tournament and an NMU tournament preview next week.
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