MARQUETTE, Mi. The Northern Michigan University women's basketball team continued the hunt for home court advantage in the upcoming Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference tournament with a 72-63 victory over Davenport University, Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcat women jumped out to a quick 12-7 lead as Makaylee Kuhn sunk a shot from deep to put the team up by five but the Panthers answered back with four straight of their own to come within one.
Elena Alaix hit a jumper from just inside the arc to extend the lead back to three points.
After hitting a three off a quick pass from Amber Huebner, Emily Mueller grabbed the defensive rebound to give the Wildcats possession once again, up 19-14.
Andrea Perez extended the lead when she made a layup in the paint as the shot clock expired to put NMU up, 21-16 with 30 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Huebner grabbed a jumper of her own for the 23-16 tally through the first 10 minutes of play.
She then opened the scoring in the second quarter with a pair of free throws to give her team the 25-16 lead, their largest of the game.
The two teams would go scoreless for the next three minutes of action before Erin Honkala found the backboard from the paint and knocked it home for the 27-18 lead.
Davenport quickly answered with a three-pointer to pull within six, but the Wildcats came back and Jessica Schultz made a deep jumper inside the arc for the 29-21 score with six minutes to play in the first half.
The Panthers chipped away at the Wildcat lead in the final minutes of the first half but NMU maintained their lead, taking a 32-27 score to the locker rooms at the half.
Huebner and Kuhn combined for the team lead in points with eight a piece through 20 minutes of play while Schultz had six of her own. Honkala and Huebner tied for the team lead in rebounds with three each while Huebner also picked up three assists in the opening half.
Elizabeth Lutz opened the scoring for NMU in the second half with a made jump shot for three on the far wing after Davenport cut the Wildcat lead to three.
Makaylee Kuhn helped extend the Wildcat lead as she drew a foul on a layup to secure the and-one and give NMU the 40-33 lead nearly halfway through the third quarter.
Huebner hit her first three of the night as coverage closed in on her to give the Wildcats a 47-36 lead over Davenport with 3:14 to go in the quarter but the Panthers answered back with a shot of their own for the 47-39 score.
The Wildcats entered the final quarter up 52-43, behind a team-best and season-high 15 points from Huebner.
With 4:30 left on the clock, the women held a nine-point lead over their Panther opponent before Schultz broke into the double digit lead for NMU with a two point jump shot from the rail. Alaix followed up Schultz's shot with a three-pointer from deep to give the Wildcats the 67-55 lead with 3:18 to play.
After the Panthers cut the lead to 10-points, Samantha Potter was sent to the line where she made both shots for the 69-57 tally.
The Wildcats called timeout with nine seconds on the clock to advance the ball and run out the clock in their zone for the 72-63 final score.
Schultz finished off her senior night with a total of 16 points for the team-high while Huebner led the team in rebounds with eight to accompany her 15 points.
The Wildcat women conclude their regular season at home with a tilt against storied rival Michigan Tech next Thursday, February 27. Tipoff for their game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.