Wildcat Women's Basketball Downs Tiffin, 69-53

Wildcat Women's Basketball Downs Tiffin, 69-53

TIFFIN, Ohio — The Northern Michigan women's basketball team captured its 10th win of the season in only its 13th game, dispatching Tiffin, 69-53, Thursday night.

The Wildcats built a 39-22 halftime advantage by closing out the first quarter on a 9-0 run and outscoring the Dragons, 20-9, in the second. While the second half was closer, Tiffin could not overcome Northern Michigan's early lead.

With the win, the Wildcats improved to 10-3 (5-1 GLIAC) on the young season. They also became only the second GLIAC team to reach the double digits in victories in 2016-17, joining Saturday's opponent No. 1 Ashland (15-0).

Northern Michigan used a balanced attack to down the Dragons, with seven players contributing at least seven points. Bre Gaspervich (13) and Darby Youngstrom (12) reached the double digits.

The Wildcats trailed, 13-10, before they seized the momentum with their 9-0 run. The run began with a Jessica Schultz layup at 3:42 of the first quarter and included three-point shots by Gaspervich and Tess Weatherly on back-to-back possessions. Erin Honkala capped the run by making the second of her two free throws with 1:21 left to play in the frame.

Northern Michigan continued to pour it on offensively in the second quarter, scoring nine of the first 11 points to extend its lead to 28-15 by the 7:26 mark. The Wildcats then went on a 7-0 run from 5:00 to 2:43, with four different players netting baskets. Allie Miller hit a three-point shot with 1:01 left in the half to snap Tiffin's 4:23 stretch without a basket and make the score at halftime 39-22 in favor of Northern Michigan.

On the strength of a 13-4 run to start the third quarter, the Wildcats built their largest lead of the game, a 52-26 advantage, by the 6:39 mark. During that run, Gaspervich made a layup and a three-point shot and Weatherly drained a three-point shot.

While the Dragons regrouped, outscoring Northern Michigan by a 27-17 margin the rest of the way, they could never draw even again.

As a team, the Wildcats shot 52.9 percent from the floor, 50.0 from beyond the three-point arc and 60.0 from the free-throw line. They held a 38-14 edge in points in the paint and scored nine off of offensive boards.

Sydney Dillinger, Schultz and Weatherly tied for the Northern Michigan lead with five rebounds. Gaspervich posted team-best totals in assists (3) and steals (2).

The Wildcats will put their four-game winning streak on the line Saturday at 1 p.m. when they face No. 1 Ashland in a rematch of the 2016 GLIAC quarterfinals.