SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (WLUC) – The Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball team's 2018-19 season came to a close as the Wildcats fell to #1 Drury University 78-56 in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals.
Senior Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis.) led the Wildcats with 14 points while adding four rebounds. She also finished 8-8 from the free throw line. Senior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn.) notched 12 points. Junior Erin Honkala (Howell, Minn.) chipped in with eight points and led the team with six rebounds.
Sophomore Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis.) scored the first points of the game with a jumper, but Drury responded with 10 points before sophomore Elizabeth Lutz (Marshall, Wis.) knocked in a three to make it 10-5 with 6:22 on the clock. Two minutes later, Smith added two free throws, but Drury had added five points, then added another six to lead 21-7 after the first period.
Smith scored a layup less than three minutes into the second quarter but Drury had already scored six points. At the 2:17 mark, Hodell scored and sank two free throws forty seconds later to make the score 39-13. Senior Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.) then sank two free throws with 22 seconds to play but the Panthers continued to pull ahead and took a 47-15 lead into halftime.
A NEW HALF
NMU outscored the Panthers 19-16 in the third period. After a Drury three opened the half, Youngstrom made a layup and a free throw. Schultz then hit a three to narrow the score to 49-21 less than two minutes into the quarter. Hodell then sank two more free throws and a layup but the Panthers also scored and held a 58-25 lead with five minutes left in the quarter.
After another Drury score, Youngstrom sank two free throws and converted an and-one. Honkala made two free throws before Youngstrom hit a jumper. The Panthers closed out the quarter with three points to take a 63-34 lead into the final quarter.
Honkala started NMU's fourth quarter scoring with a free throw then Dillinger hit another three. Honkala soon made a jumper to make the score 67-40. After a timeout, Huebner scored on a layup then Mueller scored three points before Honkala made the old-fashioned three-pointer.
Hodell added four more free throws and a jumper, with Youngstrom making a layup to close out the game, but NMU fell to the nation's top-ranked Panthers 78-56.
COMING TO AN END
With the loss, the Wildcats finish the year 23-10 while Drury improves to 33-0 and moves on to the Regional Championship to take on Grand Valley State University. NMU made their first NCAA Regional Semifinal since the 2010 season and the 23 wins are the most since the 2000-01 team won 24 games.