UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – A season-best shooting performance, four players in double figures and two players with career-highs helped power the Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball team to a 67-62 victory in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action at Saginaw Valley State University.
Junior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis./DC Everest) paced the Wildcat offense with 13 points. Sophomore Baleigh Delorit (Algoma, Wis.) hit four three-pointers to post a new career-high with 12 points. Junior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) scored a career-high 11 points and dished out a new career-high six assists. Freshman Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis./Northland Pines) chipped in with 10 points.
As a team, the Wildcats made 10 three-pointers, the most they have made in a game this season.
Dillinger gave NMU a 3-0 lead to start the game, but the hosts responded with seven straight points to go up 7-3 with 6:35 on the clock. Hodell sank two free throws to pull within 7-5, but four points by SVSU put the Cardinals back up 11-5 with 3:13 to go in the quarter.
Lutz followed with a three-point play, but SVSU sank two free throws on their next possession. After sophomore Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) and the hosts traded baskets, Smith made a layup on the final NMU possession. However, the Cardinals sank a three-pointer with two seconds remaining in the quarter to put SVSU up 18-12 after the first ten minutes.
Delorit came off the bench to start the second quarter and hit a three, followed by a Smith layup on the next NMU possession to make it just 18-17 just over a minute into the second quarter. A minute later, Delorit hit her second three of the game to put the Wildcats on top 20-18. The hosts tied the score, but Hodell put NMU back on top, 22-20 with 7:11 on the clock.
SVSU answered with a 12-point run and got ahead 32-22 with 3:28 to play in the half. Hodell stopped the run with a layup, but the hosts scored on their next two possessions to take a 36-24 lead with 1:32 to play in the half. Junior Emily Schramek (Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy) and Delorit hit back-to-back three-pointers to close out the first half, pull NMU within 36-30 as the teams entered the break.
Schultz started the second half with a three-pointer, but the Cardinals responded with a bucket. Honkala narrowed the gap with a free throw, and Schultz followed with a layup to make it 38-36 with 7:49 on the clock.
The teams continued to trade baskets for the next two minutes until Smith made a layup to tie it 42-42 with 5:29 to play in the quarter. SVSU re-took their lead but NMU continued to fight back and eventually tied the game again at 47-47 with 33 seconds to play, but the Cardinals ended the quarter by hitting a three-pointer and took a 50-47 lead into the fourth quarter.
Delorit sank her fourth three-pointer of the game and tied it 50-50 to start the quarter, then Lutz knocked in two free throws to move NMU ahead 52-50. The Cardinals scored five points, but Lutz answered with a three-pointer to tie the game at 55-55 with 5:54 to play. Dillinger put NMU back on top, 58-55, with a three-pointer, but SVSU was able to tie the game again at 58-58 with a three-point play on their next possession.
Hodell soon gave NMU back the lead, sinking a jumper, then Dillinger hit another three to move NMU ahead 63-58 with 1:32 to play. The hosts sank two free throws to narrow the game, then added a basket with 23 seconds to make it 63-62 with 23 seconds left. On the next possession, Dillinger made two free throws to move it to 65-62 and Smith closed out the game with two more free throws to give NMU the 67-62 victory.
With the win, the Wildcats improved to 11-13 on the season, and 7-9 in the GLIAC while SVSU fell to 5-18 and 5-11 in the conference. The team will now return to the Berry Events Center for four-straight home games, starting with Lake Superior State University Thursday night.