ASHLAND, Ohio - Northern Michigan University didn't have enough comebacks in the tank to challenge one of the top teams in the country in the opening round of the GLIAC women's basketball tournament on Wednesday.
The Wildcats fell 76-56 at No. 1-seeded Ashland, also ranked No. 4 in the nation at 26-1. Northern ends its season at 13-14.
NMU earned the eighth and final position in the league playoffs with two wins last week after compiling a 9-10 league record, but was forced to play a team working on a 26-game winning streak.
Nineteen of those wins came in league games, including an 85-55 win over Northern at the same site in Ohio less than two weeks ago on Feb. 18.
"We played a great game tonight," NMU head coach Troy Mattson said about Wednesday's season finale. "We limited their top three scorers to just 29 combined points compared to the 56 points we gave up two weeks ago when we last played Ashland."
Senior guard Chelsea Lyons made 12 of 24 shots to lead Northern with 29 points, five rebounds and three assists. She completed her Wildcat playing career with 790 points.
"Chelsea played great tonight and was really a tough player out there on the court," Mattson said. "She had such a successful season."
Teammate Alyssa Colla concluded her freshman campaign with eight points and four boards.
The Eagles, who next face No. 4 tourney seed Michigan Tech after the Huskies downed Lake Erie 82-52 Wednesday, were paced by Lindsay Tenyak with 23 points.
Ashland, which will host the remainder of the GLIAC tournament on Saturday and Sunday, jumped out to a 20-8 lead about 6 1/2 minutes into the game. But Northern pulled to within four points less than five minutes later at 23-19 when freshman guard Lauren Gruber nailed a jumper in the paint.
The Eagles responded by outscoring their visitors 22-10 the rest of the half to take a 45-29 lead at the break.
"It seemed every time we would put together a run and get within nine or 10 points, Ashland would come back with a pair of 3-pointers," Mattson said.