MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball team returns to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament for the seventh-straight time and will travel to Grand Valley State University Wednesday for the quarterfinals matchup.
The sixth seed, NMU visits the third-seeded Lakers. The winner will take on the two seed, Michigan Technological University, Saturday at Ashland University, the top seed.
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Last week's action: The Wildcats picked up two wins last week, defeating both Davenport University and Wayne State University. On Thursday, NMU allowed just 44 points to the Panthers, including holding DU scoreless for the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter, on their way to a 55-44 victory. They followed it with a 71-70 victory over Wayne State Saturday.
Weatherly's career-high: Junior Tess Weatherly (Howell, Mich.) came out hot against Wayne State Saturday, hitting a career-high five three-pointers for a new career-high of 15 points. Weatherly hit four threes in the first half and opened the fourth quarter with her fifth.
Dillinger sinks the game-winner: Junior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) came up clutch in Saturday's victory, hitting the game winning free throw with less than two seconds remaining in the game. She finished the game three of four from the free throw line, and ended with 10 points. The 10 points were the second-most points in a game of her career for the defensive-minded guard. She also was second on the team in rebounding for the week, averaging six rebounds per night.
Smith continues to score: Freshman Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis./Northland Pines) continues to lead the Wildcats in scoring after averaging 20.5 points a game last week. Against the Panthers she notched 22 points, and followed it with 19 points Saturday. The freshman shot 54% from the field and finished 16-17 from the free throw line.
Five game win streak: The Wildcats enter Wednesday's game on a five-game winning streak, defeating Saginaw Valley State University, Lake Superior State University, Ferris State University, and then Davenport and Wayne St. last week. Smith has led the team by scoring 15.2 points per game and freshman Elizabeth Lutz (Marshall, Wis.) has added 13.7. Hot shooting and winning fourth quarters have fueled the winning streak. NMU features Lutz, Dillinger and Weatherly all shooting over 50% from the field during the past five games. The Wildcats have also outscored opponents 87-57 in the final quarter.
Return to the playoffs: NMU returns to the playoffs for the seventh-straight season. The Wildcats fell to eventual runner-up SVSU in last year's quarterfinals. The team's last postseason victory came in the 2014 GLIAC Tournament when they defeated Northwood University, Michigan Technological University and Malone University on their way to winning the tournament and advancing to the NCAA Division II Regional.
NMU versus Grand Valley State: The Wildcats fell to the Lakers twice this season, falling in double overtime at GVSU. NMU has struggled against the Lakers lately, having dropped the last nine contests. They have also faced each other three times in the GLIAC tournament, but GVSU holds a 3-0 advantage in postseason play.