MARQUETTE - Strong defensive play and a spark off the bench helped the Northern Michigan University women's basketball team snap a four-game losing streak with a 74-62 win over Northwood University on Saturday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.
"The girls did an incredible job containing Northwoods' three guards, who are very, very good players," NMU head coach Troy Mattson said. "We still didn't shoot the ball well, but we found a way to win."
With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 12-6 overall and 9-6 in the GLIAC, while Northwood falls to 10-8 and 8-6, respectively.
Northern Michigan University senior Annie Rubendunst (15) drives toward the basket while Northwood University junior Kaitlin Susan guards her Saturday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. NMU won, 74-62. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
The first half of play concluded in a tie at 37 with 14 of the Wildcats' points scored by sophomore Nea Makela.
Mattson said the early contribution from the post makes the 'Cats a dangerous team.
The score remained close midway through the second half and was tied again at 47 with 8:44 left. From there, NMU scored 10 unanswered points to secure a lead the Timberwolves were unable to overcome.
Makela led the Wildcats in with 16 points. Senior Annie Rubendunst added 14, while juniors Alyssa Colla, Lauren Gruber and Courtney Lemon chipped in 10 points apiece.
"I think all of us have the capability to be a leading scorer some nights," Rubendunst said. "It's really just who gets the shots, who's open and who's being more aggressive."
Lemon was one of four players to come off the bench. Every one of the reserve players contributed points and rebounds to the Wildcats' total count.
"Those people coming off the bench added and gave us a boost today," Mattson said. "All we ever ask is for them to make a difference. I thought they did an incredible job of that."
Despite outrebounding the Timberwolves 51-40, Mattson said he was unhappy with the Wildcats' 34 defensive boards.
"They got a lot of offensive second chance points," Mattson said. "We're better than that as a rebounding team."
Rubendunst came up with a team-high 10 boards for the 'Cats, followed by Makela with eight and Gruber with seven.
Every NMU player who saw the floor recorded at least one rebound.