MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball will to avenge a GLIAC Championship loss as they take on #4 nationally-ranked and #4 seed Ashland University at Drury University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game is set for 8:30 p.m. Friday night with the winner advancing to take on the winner of the #1 nationally ranked, and #1 seed, Drury University and #8 seed Kentucky Wesleyan University matchup.
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Friday vs. Ashland: 2 P.M.
| LAST TIME OUT
The Wildcats overcame a scoreless first quarter to upset the top seed of the GLIAC Tournament and #7 nationally, Grand Valley State 47-38. Over the final 28 minutes, NMU outscored the Lakers 47-27. On Sunday, they took on #6 Ashland and despite keeping them to their second-lowest total of the season, were unable to pull off a second-straight upset, falling 65-58.
| A CAREER HIGH
Senior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn.) scored a career-high 26 points in Sunday's game to lead all scorers in the GLIAC Championship. The senior averaged 16 points in the two games along with five rebounds on her way to earning All-Tournament Team honors. She was also named First Team All-GLIAC prior to the tournament. Youngstrom paces the Wildcats with 11 points per game this season along with 2.1 assists and 0.9 assists.
| TWO TEAMER
Junior Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) was also named to the All-Tournament Team as she averaged 14 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She notched a double-double Saturday with 17 points and 10 rebounds against GVSU then added 11 points against Ashland. She also was a Second Team All-GLIAC and All-Defensive Team selection.
| MAKING A TEAM
Sophomore Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis.) was also named a First Team All-GLIAC selection as she finished behind Youngstrom in points, 10.2, assists, 1.7 and steals, 0.7. In the team's first victory over GVSU in January, she posted 21 points. She snagged nine rebounds three times this year. Senior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) was named to the GLIAC's All-Defensive Team to highlight her senior season.
| MAKING IT DIFFICULT
The Wildcats have the nation's third-ranked defense as they allow just 51.1 points per game this season while allowing 34.8% shooting from the field is the 13th lowest nationally. They typically outrebound their opponent by 9.3 rebounds which is the 10th best mark in the country. They also prevent easy opportunities as their 13.1 fouls per game is the eighth fewest in the country, allowing foes to shoot just 10 free throws a game while NMU gets over 15 chances per game.
| THE TOURNAMENT
NMU received the #5 seed and takes on the #4 seed Ashland. The winner takes on the winner of #1 seed Drury and #8 seed Kentucky Wesleyan at 7 p.m. Saturday night. The other half of the Midwest Regional bracket consists of #2 seed Lewis University taking on #7 seed Walsh University, and #3 seeded GVSU taking on #6 Truman State University. The winner of Lewis/Walsh will take on the winner from GVSU/Truman State. The winners of each side will then play for the Regional Championship and the opportunity to advance to the Elite Eight.
64 teams make the NCAA Tournament, with 24 conference champions earning an automatic bid with the selection committee then selecting 40 at-large selections.
| NMU VERSUS THE FIELD
Ashland holds a slight 18-16 lead in the all-time series as Ashland is making their sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. NMU has only faced Drury once, falling 59-51 in the 2010 NCAA Regional. The Wildcats have not faced Kentucky Wesleyan in program history.