NMU Women start conference campaign with win over Northwood

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MIDLAND, Mi. The Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball team opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action by visiting Northwood University and picked up a 51-39 victory.

STAT LEADERS
Junior Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) led the way with a season-high 20 points and four blocks. She also tallied six rebounds while shooting 6-8 from the field and was 7-7 from the free throw line.

Senior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) chipped in with nine points while sophomore Elizabeth Lutz (Marshall, Wis.) scored the team's first six points and finished the game with seven points. Senior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis.) paced the team with seven rebounds and had four points. Sophomore Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis.) grabbed six rebounds.

Once again the Wildcat defense locked down an opponent as they held Northwood to just 26% from the field and 20.6 % from the three-point line while only allowing the Timberwolves to shoot two free throws.

GETTING STARTED
The Timberwolves took an early 6-0 lead, before Lutz hit a three. She answered another score from NU to pull the Wildcats within 9-6 four minutes into the game. The defense then clamped down on the hosts and kept them scoreless for the next five minutes.

Schultz and senior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn.) made layups to move NMU ahead, 10-9 with 3:33 to play, then Schultz followed with four free throws to increase the lead to 14-9 with 40 seconds left in the quarter. The hosts added a bucket in the final 30 seconds to give NMU a 14-11 lead after the first quarter.

LOCK DOWN
In the second quarter, NMU only allowed Northwood five points. Schultz scored the first points of the quarter by hitting a three. The hosts answered with a jumper but Youngstrom followed with a basket to make it 19-13 at the 5:52 mark. Smith made a layup which the Timberwolves answered with a three to make the score 21-16 with four minutes to go in the half.

Hodell scored with 2:11 to go to make it 23-16. The teams then went scoreless the rest of the half to give the Wildcats the 23-16 halftime lead.

THE THIRD QUARTER
Northwood hit a three to open the third quarter, but Schultz responded with a layup. After another NU basket made the score 25-21, the Wildcats answered with four baskets. Dillinger started the run with a layup then Schultz followed with another layup.

Hodell continued the rally with a layup and Schultz hit another layup to put NMU ahead 33-21 at the 3:14 mark. The Timberwolves made a layup to stop the run but Dillinger sank two free throws with 40 seconds left. The hosts closed out the half with a jumper and NMU prepared for the fourth quarter with a 35-25 layup.

FINISH IT OUT
The Wildcats opened the fourth quarter with a three from freshman Emily Mueller (Fond du Lac, Wis.) to answer one from NU. The Timberwolves made two free throws but Schultz followed with an and-one and made it 41-30 with 7:29 play.

Mueller added a jumper and pushed NMU ahead 43-30. Northwood made a jumper but Dillinger sank one from behind the arc and moved the Wildcat lead up to 46-32. NU moved closer with a three and made the score 46-35 with 3:14 to play.

The Timberwolves made a layup which Lutz answered with a free throw and Dillinger added two more, making it 49-37 with a minute to go. The hosts made a layup with 40 seconds on the clock, but Schultz sealed the win with two free throws to give the Wildcats the 51-39 victory.

UP NEXT
Northern Michigan improves to 6-2 on the season and is now 1-0 in the GLIAC while Northwood fell to 2-5 overall and 0-1 in the conference. The Wildcats will return to action Saturday for another GLIAC matchup by visiting Saginaw Valley State University.