MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball scored a season-high 71 points to defeat Minnesota State University-Mankato 71-51 Friday afternoon in a nonconference matchup.
| STAT LEADERS
Pacing the Wildcat offense was sophomore Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis.) who finished with a season-high 24 points on 8-9 shooting, including 3-3 from the three-point line, and 5-7 from the free throw line. She also grabbed seven rebounds.
Junior Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) chipped in with 10 points and a team-best four assists. Senior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn.) and junior Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) both had seven points. Youngstrom added three steals while Honkala finished with a season-high 10 rebounds.
Honkala and Schultz both tallied two blocked shots as well.
As a team, the Wildcats hit a season-best nine three-pointers and also finished with 24 free throws, drawing 27 fouls on the day. Defensively, NMU held the Mavericks to 30.9% from the field and 23.5% from the three-point line.
| THE FIRST QUARTER
Smith started the game with a three-pointer and a layup. After an MSU basket, Schultz and Honkala made two baskets to give NMU a 10-2 lead just over two minutes into the game.
The Mavericks made a free throw to make it 10-3 at the media timeout. Out of the timeout, Smith made a layup and followed an MSU basketball with another three. She then added another basket to move the score to 17-5 with three minutes to play in the quarter. The guests managed to score one more time before the end of the frame and the Wildcats led 17-7 after the first quarter.
| THE SECOND QUARTER
The team's played through a draw for the first three minutes of the quarter until junior Baleigh Delorit (Algoma, Wis.) hit a three to make it 20-7. MSU responded with a basket but Hodell followed with a layup. The Mavericks then hit a three but Honkala answered with a three of her own and made the score 25-12 with just over five minutes left to play in the half.
Honkala added another jumper at the 3:47 mark. MSU followed with five points to narrow the lead before senior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) sank two free throws and Delorit hit her second three-pointer of the day, giving NMU a 32-17 lead with 1:44 left in the half.
Freshman Emily Mueller (Fond du Lac, Wis.) added a layup before the end of the half while MSU chipped into the lead, and the Wildcats went into the break leading 34-21.
| THE THIRD QUARTER
Smith extended the lead with a basket early in the third quarter. After the guests hit a three, Schultz answered with a three and made the score 39-24 at the 8:06 mark. MSU was able to cut into the lead and made it 39-30 but Smith stopped the MSU run with a layup.
Schultz, Youngstrom and Smith all sank free throws and moved the score to 45-34 with 2:15 on the clock when Hodell made a basket and Dillinger added two more free throws and made it 49-34 with just over a minute to play. Hodell ended the quarter with two more free throws for NMU and the Wildcats took a 51-36 advantage into the final quarter.
| THE FINAL QUARTER
The final frame started with Schultz hitting two free throws. After an MSU basket, Smith hit another free throw, and Youngstrom sank two more free throws after a Maverick score to make it 56-42 with less than six minutes left in the game.
The Mavericks cut it down to 56-45 when Smith hit her third three of the day. Schultz followed with a free throw to make it 60-49 after MSU scored twice. Smith, Youngstrom and Dillinger each added two more free throws before the next MSU score to make it 66-49 with a little over two minutes to play.
Youngstrom made two more free throws and Dillinger hit a three from the corner to answer two MSU free throws while the defense kept the visitors from scoring again and the Wildcats captured the 71-51 win.
| UP NEXT
The Wildcats improve to 3-1 on the season and will return to action Sunday morning to host Minnesota State University-Moorhead at 11 a.m. inside the Berry Events Center.