Wildcats Fall Short in Upset Bid at Michigan Tech

Wildcats Fall Short in Upset Bid at Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON, Mich. -- The Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball team took on their rival, #18 Michigan Technological University in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup, but fell 61-54 Sunday afternoon. 

Freshman Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis./Northland Pines) led the team with 19 points. Sophomore Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) added 11 points.  Sophomore Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) notched her fourth double-double of the season finishing with 10 points, 14 rebounds and tied her career-high with five blocked shots.

The Wildcats scored first but MTU answered by scoring eight straight points to make it 8-2 at the 5:50 mark.  Out of an NMU timeout, junior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis./DC Everest) sank two free throws, followed by a layup by Smith to make it 10-6.  However, the hosts responded with seven straight points to take a 17-6 lead with 2:25 to go in the quarter. Freshman Elizabeth Lutz (Marshall, Wis.) hit two free throws, and Smith made another layup, but a basket by the Huskies on their final possession gave MTU a 19-10 lead after the first 10 minutes.

Schultz put in the first basket of the second quarter, but the Huskies scored four-straight to take a 23-12 lead less than two minutes into the quarter.  Hodell and Smith then hit back-to-back layups to narrow the NMU deficit to seven points.  The teams traded baskets for the next four minutes until another Smith basket cut the lead to five points, 29-24 with 1:39 to go in the half. 

After an MTU basket, Smith made the old-fashioned three-pointer to reduce it to 31-27, but the Huskies closed out the quarter with a basket to send the game to halftime at 33-27.

Honkala got the third quarter started with a layup. The hosts responded with a basket, but Smith scored on two straight possessions and pulled NMU to within 35-33 with 7:43 to go in the third quarter.  After calling timeout, the Huskies responded with seven straight points to take a 42-33 lead at the 3:44 mark. 

Schultz ended the NMU drought with a three-point play with 1:50 to go, but another last-minute score by the Huskies gave them a 44-36 lead as the teams headed into the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, MTU eventually pulled ahead 50-40 with 7:34 to go in the game. Honkala then hit a layup and two free throws to make it 50-44 with 6:41 to play. The hosts answered with three baskets and re-captured their lead, now 56-44 with just under five minutes to play.  This time, Schultz scored four-straight, followed by four points from Lutz to move the score to 56-52 with just 1:22 to play. 

However, the Wildcats would be unable to score again until a Honkala basket with four seconds to go, resulting in the Huskies taking an eventual 61-54 victory.

NMU falls to 8-10 on the season and 5-7 in the GLIAC while Tech improved to 16-3, 10-2 in league play.  The Wildcats return to action Thursday as they host Purdue University Northwest in the Berry Events Center. 

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