HILLSDALE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball team defeated #25 Lewis University 62-56 to win the season opener as part of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference/Great Lakes Valley Conference Challenge hosted by Hillsdale College.
The victory is the first win for the team over a ranked opponent since they defeated #10 Lewis 75-66 on November 24, 2013.
| STAT LEADERS
The Wildcats were led by senior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn.) who scored 18 points, including 5-5 from the free throw line in her first game since injury cut her junior year short. She also grabbed five rebounds.
Senior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) hit three three-pointers and had 11 points to tie a career-high and junior Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis.) notched nine points.
| THE FIRST QUARTER
Defense proved important early as the game went nearly 2:30 before Schultz made a layup for the first points of the game. The Flyers answered with four points but Smith responded to make the score 4-4 with just under six minutes to go in the first quarter. Weatherly then sank her first three-pointer but Lewis followed with a three of their own making the score 7-7 at the first media timeout.
Out of the timeout, Smith made a layup but Lewis made two free throws right away to tie the game once again. Youngstrom responded with a three-pointer with 3:22 to go in the quarter and made the score 12-9. Lewis then hit a free throw and a jumper to force another tie, 12-12 with just over two minutes to go.
On the next possession, Youngstrom made two free throws, but the Flyers made a three-pointer for the final points of the first quarter and took a 15-14 lead after ten minutes.
| THE SECOND QUARTER
Lewis opened the second quarter with a three-pointer but Weatherly followed with a jumper. Nearly two minutes later, Dillinger made her first three of the night and gave NMU back the lead, 19-18, with 7:37 on the clock. Senior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis.) extended the Wildcat lead with a three-point play and Youngstrom hit a layup for the largest lead of the game, 24-18 with 6:28 left in the first half.
After Lewis hit a basket, Weatherly made a three-pointer and made it 27-20 with five minutes left. Lewis closed the half on a 5-0 run and the Wildcats went into halftime with a 27-20 lead.
| THE THIRD QUARTER
Dillinger opened the second half with a three and Schultz hit a jumper to push NMU back up seven. The Flyers responded with a basket but Youngstrom answered with a layup with 6:06 left. A minute later, Lewis converted a three-point play before Youngstrom sank two free throws and made the score 37-31 with less than five minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Flyers scored four points and after a Smith free throw, Lewis made another jumper, but Smith sank two more free throws, moving the lead to 40-37 with 2:42 left. Lewis then made a jumper but two Hodell free throws closed out the quarter with NMU leading 42-39 as the teams prepared for the fourth quarter.
| THE FINAL QUARTER
Schultz started the quarter with a jumper, but Lewis answered with a basket of their own. Smith then pushed the lead up to five with a jumper and Dillinger made another three to make it 49-41 with 6:52 to play.
Lewis made a three a minute later, and Youngstrom traded baskets with the Flyers before sinking two more free throws, making it 53-46 at the 4:07 mark. Lewis made two free throws but Schultz and Youngstrom responded with layups to make it 57-48 with two minutes to go.
The Flyers made two free throws and a layup before Schultz slowed the Lewis run with a layup, moving the score to 59-52 with 29 seconds to go. Lewis made a layup, and sophomore Elizabeth Lutz (Marshall, Wis.) made a free throw. After another Lewis layup, Dillinger made two free throws with seven seconds left to make it 62-56 and seal the victory for NMU.
| UP NEXT
With the win, NMU moves to 1-0 on the season. The Wildcats return to action Sunday as they take on the University of Indianapolis in their second game of the GLIAC/GLVC Challenge.