MARQUETTE, Mich. -- The Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball team outscored Ferris State University 16-7 in the final seven minutes to clinch a spot in the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament with a 69-60 victory over the Bulldogs.
Fueling the victory were four players who achieved double digits. Freshman Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis./Northland Pines), finished with team highs of 17 points and six rebounds. Freshman Elizabeth Lutz (Marshall, Wis.) scored 14 points, hitting a three and going 11 of 11 from the free throw line. Junior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis./DC Everest) added 11 points and three assists. Junior Emily Schramek (Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy) posted 10 points.
Lutz started out the game with three free throws, but the guests answered with a three-pointer to tie it early. Schramek followed with a three of her own to put NMU ahead 6-3. The Bulldogs soon took a lead, but a three from junior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) and four free throws from Smith gave the Wildcats a 13-7 lead at the 5:15 mark. The teams continued to trade baskets throughout the remainder of the first quarter, making it 21-17 as the teams began the second frame.
After an FSU free throw, Schramek hit another three, followed by layups from Hodell and Smith to put NMU ahead 28-20. The Bulldogs responded with back-to-back layups and two free throws to make it 28-24 at the five-minute mark. Hodell then made a layup, but the Bulldogs responded with a three to make it 30-27. Smith added two free throws, but FSU answered with another three to send the game into halftime with a 32-30 NMU lead.
FSU came out of the halftime break and scored eight-straight points to go ahead 38-32 less than four minutes into the third quarter. Dillinger ended the run with another three-pointer, which FSU answered with a layup. Smith followed with a layup of her own, then the teams traded three-pointers to make it 43-30.
Ferris St. sank a free throw to move up four, which Smith responded to by sinking a free throw and then Hodell made a layup to make it 44-43 with 1:53 to go in the quarter. An FSU jumper was answered by Lutz, who sank four free throws to give NMU a 47-46 lead with 1:16 in the third. The Bulldogs tied the game back up, 47-47 as the teams ended the quarter.
The guests began the quarter with four points to take a 51-47 lead, but baskets by Schramek and Smith tied it, 51-51, at the 7:27 mark. After trading baskets to tie the game a sixth time, Hodell hit an old-fashioned three-pointer to put NMU ahead 56-53. Hodell then built up the lead with another layup. FSU sank a free throw to shrink the NMU lead to four, but a three from Lutz, followed by a Schramek layup made it 63-54 with 2:32 to play.
A layup by the Bulldogs made it 63-56 with 39 seconds to go, then another layup after a Dillinger free throw moved the score to 65-58. However, junior Tess Weatherly (Howell, Mich.), Dillinger and sophomore Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) sank free throws to seal the 69-60 NMU vicotry.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 13-13 on the season and 9-9 in the GLIAC while FSU fell to 13-13 overall, 7-11 in the GLIAC). NMU returns to action Thursday as they host Davenport University in the Berry Events Center.