LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball Team held a halftime lead over the 17th ranked University of Southern Indiana but a slow third quarter proved too much to overcome as the Wildcats fell 59-49.
Sophomore Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) posted a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. She also notched three blocked shots and two steals. Junior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn./North Woods) added 16 points, including a 10 of 10 performance from the free throw line. For the weekend, Youngstrom finished 19 of 20 from the line.
Freshman Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis./Northland Pines) chipped in with nine points while junior Emily Schramek (Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy) tallied seven. Youngstrom and freshman Amber Huebner (Marquette, Mich.) totaled two steals and two assists each.
USI went ahead 5-2, but Youngstrom scored four quick points followed by a Honkala jump shot to put the Wildcats ahead 8-5 at the media timeout. After the Eagles pulled within one, Smith hit a jumper and then found Schramek for a three-pointer. A layup by USI pulled them to within 13-11, but Youngstrom ended the first quarter with a layup to put NMU ahead 15-11.
The teams went the first three minutes of the second quarter without scoring before USI hit a three, and followed it with a jump shot, giving the Eagles a 16-15 lead at the 5:58 mark. Youngstrom found Honkala for a layup, and then hit two free throws to put NMU back ahead, 19-16. After USI scored, Smith hit a three from Honkala and the Wildcats were up 22-18. Two quick scores by the Eagles tied the game 22-22 with 1:55 remaining in the half. The teams scored just one more basket before the buzzer, as Youngstrom gave NMU a 24-22 halftime lead with a layup.
In the third quarter, the Eagles came out strong and tied the game on their first possession of the second half. The two teams traded baskets for the next three minutes and saw a 30-30 tie with five minutes to go. To close out the third quarter, USI went on a 13-4 run and took a 43-34 lead into the final frame.
The Wildcats pulled within eight, but were unable to get closer and fell to the #17th ranked Eagles 59-49.
With the defeat, NMU falls to 4-3 on the season while USI improves to 6-0. The Wildcats will return home and will open Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Thursday night in the team's home opener.