PAINESVILLE, Ohio — The Northern Michigan women's basketball team edged Lake Erie, 68-54, Saturday afternoon to move to 7-3 on the season.
At halftime, the Wildcats led by a slim 34-31 margin. By the end of the third quarter, they had built a comfortable 50-38 lead, which the Storm couldn't overcome.
During that pivotal third quarter, six Wildcats drained at least one basket, led by Jessica Schultz, who made a layup and a jump shot on back-to-back possessions. Darby Youngstrom gave Northern Michigan a 50-36 advantage with 2:07 on the clock after making a layup, drawing the foul and draining the resulting free throw.
The first quarter was even in the early goings before Northern Michigan used a 6-0 run to take a 16-10 advantage by the 3:10 mark. During that run, Youngstrom made two free throws and drained a three-point shot. By the end of the quarter, the Storm had battled back to draw within two, at 18-16.
In the second quarter, the Storm quickly tied the game and then took a 24-18 lead with 6:47 on the clock. Emily Schramek hit a three-point shot 17 seconds later to draw the Wildcats back within three, but Kayla Gabor made a jump shot with 6:09 remaining to give the Storm a 26-21 edge.
By the 2:47 mark, the Wildcats had re-gained the lead, at 31-28, thanks to a 10-2 run highlighted by Chloe Tompkins and Youngstrom draining layups, drawing fouls and hitting their free throws. The teams traded points the rest of the way, and Northern Michigan went to the locker room up, 34-31.
After outscoring the Storm, 16-7, in the third quarter, the Wildcats extended their lead to 61-45, their largest of the game, by the 5:39 mark of the fourth quarter. While Lake Erie would battle back, they couldn't overcome that 16-point deficit.
The Wildcats shot 53.3 percent from the floor and 75.0 percent on free throws. Four of Northern Michigan's starters, Youngstrom (18), Schultz (15), Bre Gaspervich (14), Tompkins (10), all scored in double digits. Youngstrom's 18 points is her season-best total.
Youngstrom also contributed eight rebounds. Gaspervich had five steals and Tompkins recorded seven assists. The Wildcats scored 18 points off of turnovers and eight off of offensive boards.
The Wildcats, now 7-3 (2-1 GLIAC), will return to the Berry Events Center next weekend to host Findlay (Dec. 15, 6 p.m.) and Hillsdale (Dec. 17, 1 p.m.)