MARQUETTE, Mi. Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball defeated #9 Grand Valley State University 56-43 to move into a tie for first place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. It is their second win over a ranked team this season after defeating ranked Lewis University in the season opener.
NMU was led by sophomore Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis.), who finished with 21 points on 10-17 shooting. Senior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn.) posted 12 points. Junior Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) notched 12 rebounds and added eight points. Sophomore Elizabeth Lutz (Marshall, Wis.) chipped into the effort with nine points.
The Wildcats lead for 38 minutes and kept the Lakers to just 15.4% from behind the three-point line and 35.4% from the field. It's also the fifth time this GLIAC season they have held an opponent under 50 points.
BUILDING A LEAD
Smith started the game with a layup for NMU then followed with a jumper before GVSU scored their first basket to make it 4-2 just over two minutes into the game. The Lakers added a layup but senior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis.) answered with a basket. The Lakers responded with a free throw then Smith followed with a jumper to make the score 8-4 five minutes into the game.
GVSU tied the game with two layups but Youngstrom answered with three-pointer and Smith hit a jumper to close out the first quarter with NMU on top 13-8.
EXTENDING THAT LEAD
The Lakers started the second quarter with a score, but senior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) and Schultz hit jumpers to move NMU ahead 17-10. The guests scored again, but a Schultz layup followed to make it 19-12.
GVSU would get a bucket but Smith answered with a jumper followed by three-pointers from Lutz and Youngstrom, plus another Smith jumper to increase their lead to 29-14 with less than a minute to play. The Lakers closed the half with five points but NMU lead into halftime, 29-19.
ANOTHER STRONG QUARTER
Smith scored to open the second half with a jumper but GVSU followed with three scores to pull within 31-26. After a timeout, Smith made back-to-back jumpers and Schultz added a basket before Lutz converted the four-point play by hitting a three and sinking the free throw after getting fouled on the shot. The run moved the Wildcats ahead 41-26.
The Lakers added a jumper but Youngstrom closed the quarter with two baskets to move NMU ahead 45-30 as the teams entered the fourth quarter.
FINISHING THE UPSET
Dillinger scored first in the fourth quarter followed by another Smith score to move NMU up to a 49-30 lead. GVSU managed to cut the lead down to 49-40 before Smith stopped the Lakers run with a layup.
Grand Valley State followed with a jumper but Youngstrom answered with two layups. After a GVSU free throw, Lutz sank two more free throws for NMU. The #9 Lakers were unable to score again and Schultz hit two free throws to give NMU a 56-43 victory.
The Wildcats are now on a four-game win streak and are 14-4 on the season and 9-1 in the GLIAC while GVSU falls to 16-2 and 9-1 in the league. With the win, the Wildcats are now tied with GVSU and Ashland at the top of the overall GLIAC standings.
NMU looks to extend their winning streak next week as they host rival Michigan Technological University Saturday, starting at 11 a.m.