UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. — Saginaw Valley State edged the Northern Michigan women's basketball team, 67-60, Thursday night at O'Neill Arena.
After the Cardinals used a 10-4 run to build a 41-31 advantage by the 5:26 mark of the third quarter, the Wildcats responded with an 8-0 run to pull back within two, at 41-39, with 2:51 left to play in that frame.
Saginaw Valley State scored four of the third quarter's final six points, and then opened the fourth quarter with a three-point shot by Hannah Settingsgaard, to build a 48-41 lead. Northern Michigan again responded, pulling within three points, at 50-47, on the strength of a 6-2 run by the 8:09 mark.
After the Cardinals built a more comfortable eight-point lead, at 55-47, Taylor Hodell made a layup and Bre Gaspervich drained a jump shot on back-to-back possessions to draw the Wildcats back within four points. But an Emily Wendling jump shot, and two Abby Duffy free throws, gave Saginaw Valley State what proved to be an insurmountable 59-51 lead with 1:19 left to play.
The Cardinals, who now lead the GLIAC North with a 7-1 conference record, closed out the game by draining all eight of their free throws. Northern Michigan's final points were scored by Darby Youngstrom, who sank two three-point shots in the final 17 seconds of the game.
The first quarter ended in a 15-15 deadlock after the Wildcats erased a 13-7 disadvantage with an 8-2 run featuring two Jessica Schultz layups.
In the second quarter, after trading baskets to start, Northern Michigan used an 8-0 run to build a 25-17 advantage by the 5:20 mark. Saginaw Valley State roared back with a 9-1 run, tying the score at 26-26 with 1:28 left to play in the half.
The Cardinals took a 30-27 advantage into the locker room by using the momentum from tying the game to score four of the half's final five points.
With 18 points, Youngstrom tied her season-best total, set at Lake Erie on Dec. 9. She also contributed five assists and three steals.
Hodell also scored in the double digits, posting a season-best 16. Gaspervich had nine points and a team-best nine rebounds.
Saginaw Valley State's Wendling had a double double with game-best totals in both points (23) and rebounds (11).
The Wildcats outscored the Cardinals in the paint, 38-24. They shot 43.9 percent from the floor, 36.4 from beyond the three-point arc and 54.5 from the free-throw line.
Northern Michigan, now 10-5 (5-3 GLIAC), next takes on Wayne State Saturday at 1 p.m. That game will be televised live on Comcast/CN 90 throughout Michigan.