MARQUETTE, MICH. -- The Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball team hosted the top -anked team in the country, Ashland University, in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats kept the first half close, but fell 99-59 to a team that has now won a Division II women's basketball record 52-games in a row. NMU entered the game ranked atop the GLIAC rankings in defense, and held the nation's second-highest scoring offense to under 100 points for the first time in four games.
Sophomore Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) led the Wildcats with 17 points while junior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis./DC Everest) added 14. Sophomore Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) chipped in with nine rebounds.
Ashland jumped out 6-0 early before Hodell put the Wildcats on the board. After the Eagles extended the lead to 10-2, Schultz knocked in a layup. Honkala followed with a basket but the guests answered with a 6-0 run to take a 16-6 lead with 2:21 to go in the opening quarter. Hodell then answered with back-to-back layups to narrow the gap 16-10. Ashland responded with a three-point play and Schultz knocked in a jumper to make the score 19-12 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Hodell narrowed the gap to five points, 19-14, but the Eagles answered and gradually pulled ahead 46-30 at the break. Out of halftime, Ashland outscored the Wildcats 32-15 in the third quarter to take the eventual 99-59 victory.
With the loss, NMU falls to 7-8 on the season, and 3-4 in GLIAC play while AU improved to 14-0, 7-0 in the league. The Wildcats return to action Thursday as they travel to Lake Superior State University.