ALLENDALE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University's Women's Basketball Team went into two overtimes at Grand Valley State University but fell 66-59 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup. The tight game was tied at halftime, then was tied after the third quarter, after the fourth quarter and after the first overtime.
Freshman Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis./Northland Pines) led the Wildcats with a career-high 29 points. She also posted seven rebounds and two steals. Junior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis./DC Everest) chipped in with 10 points. Sophomore Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) posted a career-day as she grabbed 19 rebounds and added nine points, two blocks and three steals to the effort.
To start the game, the teams were tied 4-4 at the first media timeout. Hodell and Smith came back and each scored to give the Wildcats an 8-4 lead. After the Lakers made a layup, Smith added a jumper, followed by a three-pointer by sophmore Jessica Schultz ( Mineral Point, Wis.) and NMU was ahead 13-6. Smith made another basket between two GVSU scores and the Wildcats were ahead 15-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Lakers came back in the second quarter and outscored NMU 12-7, sending the teams into halftime tied at 22-22.
Smith came out of halftime with six straight points, putting NMU ahead 28-22 early in the third quarter. Junior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) then hit two free throws to answer a GVSU basket. The Lakers bounced back and eventually tied the score 32-32 with 2:15 left in the quarter. Hodell responded with a bucket, answered by GVSU, and the teams entered the fourth quarter tied 34-34.
The hosts made three free throws and got ahead 37-36 at the seven-minute mark. Dillinger narrowed the gap to one with a layup, but a free throw and three-pointer put GVSU back up five, 41-36 with 6:41 on the clock. Smith answered with back-to-back jumpers, and Hodell followed with her own basket.
Smith then scored again and NMU was ahead 44-41 with 2:10 to go in regulation. The Lakers made a layup, but Smith answered with two free throws to keep the NMU lead at 46-43 with 1:34 to go until the buzzer. However, GVSU was successful on a three-pointer with 20 seconds left and the teams headed into the first overtime game this season for the Wildcats.
Honkala scored first for NMU in the overtime but the hosts made a layup, then two free throws to go ahead 50-48 with 2:47 to go in the first overtime. Lexi Smith answered with three free throws of her own to get NMU back on top 51-50 with 1:42 on the clock. Down one with 35 seconds to go, Honkala hit another jump shot, but GVSU scored again to go up 55-53 with just eight seconds remaining. On their final possession of the first OT, Smith was able to score, tying the game at 55-55 and send the game to a second overtime.
Honkala scored the first basket for NMU again and tied the game at 57-57, then Dillinger scored two minutes later to pull the Wildcats within 61-59, but the Lakers proved too much down the stretch, winning 66-59.
The Wildcats fall to 6-5 overall, and 2-2 in the GLIAC, while GVSU improved to 8-2, 3-1 in the league. The women's team will return to action next Sunday as they host rival Michigan Technological University in the Berry Events Center.