ALLENDALE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball team made their seventh-straight trip to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Wednesday night but fell to third-seeded Grand Valley State University 58-40 in the GLIAC Quarterfinals.
Freshman Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis./Northland Pines) led the Wildcats with 17 points. Junior Emily Schramek (Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy) and sophomore Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) added seven points each. Schramek also paced the team with six rebounds while Honkala chipped in two steals and a block.
In the first quarter, it took over two minutes until junior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis./DC Everest) scored the first points of the game to put NMU up 2-0. However, the hosts answered and pushed out to a 10-2 lead five minutes into the game. Hodell hit a layup to end the run with 4:56 to play, then Smith narrowed the gap with a three-point play, making it 10-7 at the 4:16 mark. GVSU responded with a three-pointer, and Smith made a jumper in the quarter's final minute to make the score 13-9 after 10 minutes.
GVSU opened the second quarter with five quick points but Honkala answered with four straight points to make it 18-13 less than two minutes into the quarter. The Lakers followed with another five-point run. Schultz then hit a free throw but GVSU hit a jumper to push their lead to 25-14. Schramek hit a jumper to score her first points of the game, and then followed a Laker three-pointer with her own three and the score was 28-19 five minutes left in the half.
After a GVSU bucket, Honkala made a layup. The hosts responded with another basket to finish the first half scoring and took a 33-21 lead into halftime.
The Lakers scored quickly to start the third quarter, then Smith answered with a layup, but GVSU hit a three to go ahead 38-23 less than a minute in. Smith responded with a layup, followed by a layup from Hodell making it 38-27 at the 5:57 mark. After a Laker basket, Smith sank two free throws and added a jumper to answer another GVSU made shot to make it 42-31 with 3:29 to go in the quarter.
Sophomore Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) got the lead into single digits with two free throws and after a GVSU free throw, Schramek got the deficit to eight points, 43-35, with 34 seconds left in the quarter. However, on the final possession of the frame, the hosts hit a three to end the quarter 46-35.
GVSU hit a jumper to start the final quarter, then answered a Smith jumper with a three-pointer to make it 51-37. Smith managed to narrow the gap to 51-39 with a jumper. Unfortunately, NMU would be unable to find a score until Honkala made a free throw with 17 seconds left which would not be enough as the Wildcats fell to the Lakers 58-40.
With the loss, NMU ends their season at 15-14 on the season and finished GLIAC play with an 11-9 record. GVSU improved to 24-5 on the season and 16-4 in league play and will now travel to Ashland University where they will take on Ferris State University in the GLIAC Semifinals Saturday afternoon.