MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Women's Basketball Team for Northern Michigan University opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Thursday night but fell to Northwood University 64-56.
Freshman Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis./Northland Pines) led the Wildcats with 15 points and tied for the team's lead with five rebounds. Sophomore Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) chipped in with 14 points, tied for the team's lead with five rebounds, and led the team with three assists and three steals. Sophomore Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) added 13 points and two assists.
NMU started the game by taking a 19-11 lead after the first quarter. Junior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) scored first and then junior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn./North Woods) followed. After a three-pointer by the Timberwolves, Smith made two layups to put the Wildcats ahead 8-3. Northwood chipped away, but a layup put NMU on top 10-8 as the teams hit the first media timeout.
Honkala came out of the timeout and hit a layup. The next possession she found Schultz for a three. Youngstrom then made another layup and NMU was ahead 17-8. NU made a three-pointer, which Smith answered with a layup and the quarter ended with a 19-11 NMU lead.
Youngstrom and Dillinger put NMU up 24-11 early in the second quarter. After two Northwood free throws, Honkala made a layup and two free throws while Smith made a jumper which put the Wildcats ahead 30-16 with 5:02 to go in the quarter. NU ended the quarter on 6-1 run, but NMU went into the half up 31-22.
Honkala started the third quarter strong and put Northern Michigan ahead 35-23 just two minutes in. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves went on a 21-2 run and claimed a 44-37 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Smith opened the final frame with a three, and Schultz made a layup to narrow the gap to just 44-42. Two three-pointers by NMU put the guests back up 50-44. Honkala scored but Schultz had to end a five-point run by the guests which put Northwood up 55-48 with 3:45 to go.
With the score 57-48 a minute later, Schultz and Honkala hit back-to-back layups to bring NMU within 57-52. An NU layup and free throw was answered by junior Tess Weatherly (Howell, Mich.), but four free throws in the last 40 seconds by the Timberwolves proved to much to overcome as the Wildcats fell 64-56.
NMU falls to 4-4 overall, 0-1 in the GLIAC while Northwood improved to 3-3 on the season, and 1-0 in league play. The Wildcats return to action Saturday as they host Saginaw Valley State University in another GLIAC matchup.