SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball has secured a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference Quarterfinals matchup in the Berry Events Center on March 5 after defeating Lake Superior State University 63-47 in a GLIAC contest.
| STAT LEADERS
The Wildcats were led by senior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn.) who finished with 15 points and had two blocks. The senior is now just 35 points from achieving 1,000 points in her career. Sophomores Elizabeth Lutz (Marshall, Wis.) and Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis.) both added 12 points.
Senior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) notched seven points. Senior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis.), and juniors Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) and Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) each finished with five rebounds.
NMU finished the game shooting 50% from the field while outscoring the Lakers 40-14 in the paint.
| STARTING SLOW
After Youngstrom scored the first basket of the game, the Lakers rushed out to a 10-2 lead with 4:23 to play. Youngstrom stopped the LSSU rally with a layup followed by a layup from senior Tess Weatherly (Howell, Mich.). The hosts responded with a layup of their own with 1:33 on the clock but Smith hit a three with a minute left in the quarter and made the score 12-9 with LSSU on top as the teams entered the second quarter.
| TAKING A LEAD
Smith started the second quarter with a jumper but Lake State followed with a three. Youngstrom then made a free throw and Smith added a layup to make it 15-14 two minutes into the second quarter.
The Lakers responded with a layup but Youngstrom answered with another score to make it 17-16 with six minutes to play. After another LSSU three, Weatherly hit a jumper but once again the Lakers answered with a basket and claimed a 22-18 lead with five minutes to go in the half.
On the next NMU possession, Smith made a three. Schultz then made two free throws with 3:47 on the clock to give NMU a 23-22 lead. Dillinger then added a layup but the hosts made a three to tie it at 25-25 with two minutes to go.
Youngstrom answered with two free throws to put NMU back on top then made a layup, and Schultz converted an and-one and NMU was leading 32-25 as the teams entered halftime.
| EXTENDING THE LEAD
The Lakers made two free throws to open the second half, but the NMU defense clamped down and didn't allow another score for eight minutes while the Wildcats increased their lead.
Smith followed the LSSU free throws with a jumper and Dillinger added a layup before Youngstrom made a layup to make it 38-27 at the 7:14 mark. Hodell, Lutz and freshman Emily Mueller (Fond du Lac, Wis.) all scored to give the Wildcats a 44-27 lead.
Lake Superior State finally scored again with 2:06 to play to stop the 12-point NMU run. The Lakers added a basket and a layup. Dillinger then made an old fashioned three-pointer. After two free throws from the Lakers, Youngstrom made a layup to make the NMU lead 49-34 to end the fourth quarter.
| FINISHING IT OUT
The teams traded buckets to start the fourth quarter with Smith scoring for NMU. She also added a free throw and sophomore Amber Huebner (Marquette, Mich.) made a layup before LSSU scored to make the score 54-38 with 6:22 left to play.
The Lakers added two free throws but Huebner made a jumper and Lutz made a three-pointer to push the NMU lead out to 59-40 with four minutes left. LSSU made a three-pointer but Lutz answered with a layup and free throw. Lutz added another free throw and the Lakers scored four points in the final minute and NMU held on for a 63-47 victory.
| UP NEXT
The Wildcats improve to 19-6 on the season and 14-3 in the GLIAC while Lake Superior State falls to 7-17 overall and 2-15 in league-play. NMU will continue their road trip next week as they visit Grand Valley State University Thursday night. They then head to Davenport University on Saturday.