ASHLAND, Ohio (WLUC) – Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball traveled to #8 Ashland University to continue Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference and held the ranked Eagles to their second lowest total of the season but it wasn't enough as the Wildcats fell 71-55.
Sophomore Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis.) paced the Wildcats offense with 19 points and five rebounds. Senior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn.) chipped in with 10 points. Junior Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) posted nine points while senior Tess Weatherly (Howell, Mich.) chipped in with eight points.
Senior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis.) and freshman Emily Mueller (Fond du Lac, Wis.) both finished with five rebounds.
THE FIRST HALF
Ashland scored the first four points but Schultz responded with a three-pointer to make it 4-3 two minutes into the game. The Eagles answered with back-to-back threes but Weatherly hit a jumper and the score was 10-5 with AU on top with 6:08 on the clock.
Hodell sank two free throws to move the Wildats closer then a layup and free throw from Youngstrom tied the game at 10-10 at the 3:47 mark. Smith followed with a layup to give NMU their first lead of the game, 12-10 with 3:24 to go in the quarter.
The Eagles responded with another three then a layup and free throw. In the final minute of the quarter, Smith hit a layup and a jumper and tied the score at 16-16 after the first ten minutes.
In the second quarter, Youngstrom answered an early AU score with a layup to tie it at 18-18. However, the ranked Eagles went on a 12-0 run that Youngstrom ended with a layup and sent the game into halftime with Ashland leading 30-20.
THE THIRD QUARTER
The Eagles scored first in the third quarter but the Wildcats started to roar back. Smith scored twice before another Ashland basket. Smith then scored again but the Eagles answered. With 7:02 on the clock Weatherly made a three-pointer to make it 36-29.
The Eagles then scored four points before Schultz made a layup at the 4:20 mark. Smith followed with a layup then Schultz sank two free throws. Hodell continued the run with a layup and made the score 40-37 with 2:23 to go in the quarter. Unfortunately, Ashland recovered and pulled ahead 46-37.
FINISHING IT OUT
Ashland started the fourth quarter with a score followed by a basket from junior Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) but Ashland answered with five points. Smith then made a jumper before two AU free throws.
Hodell answered with a free throw and Weatherly added another three-pointer but the Eagles made a free throw. On the next NMU possession, Smith converted the old-fashioned three-pointer. The Eagles responded with two free throws and made it 58-48 at the 5:31 mark.
After two free throws by Ashland, Youngstrom made a layup before the Eagles scored five straight points. Youngstrom added another free throw to make it 65-51 with 3:31 to play. AU scored again then Schultz made a layup. Junior CeCe Rapp (St. Charles, Ill.) made a layup at the end of the game but Ashland claimed a 71-53 victory.
The Wildcats fall to 10-4 on the season and suffer their first setback of the GLIAC season and are now 5-1. Ashland improved to 13-1 on the year and are 5-1 in the GLIAC. NMU will look to rebound as they host Lake Superior State University on Thursday night in the Berry Events Center.