NMU women move closer to home playoff berth

The Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team moved into fifth place in the GLIAC race for the playoffs with a 67-53 win at Ferris State on Thursday night.

Senior guard Bre Gaspervich missed practice all week due to illness and didn’t start Thursday, but the Wildcats didn’t seem to miss a beat early on as they outscored the Bulldogs 42-19 in the first half.

Junior Darby Youngstrom stepped up to score 14 points in the first half, nailing a layup at the buzzer to complete an 8-0 NMU run.

The Bulldogs chipped away at the Wildcat lead in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats by nine points, though it didn’t make much of a dent in the final score.

Jessica Schultz led the Wildcats with 16 points, while Youngstrom added 15, Erin Honkala 12 and Taylor Hodell 10.

Sydney Dillinger, who started in place of Gaspervich, dished out a career-high six assists while Honkala hauled in a team-best seven rebounds.

Gaspervich came off the bench and still played 26 minutes, scoring six points.

The senior guard is now at 997 points in her career, and can reach 1,000 Saturday at Grand Valley State.

At 12-7, the Wildcats moved to within one game of Michigan Tech for the fourth and final home-court spot in the opening round of the GLIAC tournament.

After playing at Grand Valley State on Saturday afternoon, NMU closes the regular season in Houghton against Tech on Thursday evening.

Ferris State 96, NMU men 74

No. 24 Ferris State broke open a close game at halftime and cruised to a victory over Northern Michigan University in a men’s basketball game played Thursday night.

Trailing 36-35 at the break, Wildcats guard Naba Echols came out hot to start the second half, sinking three straight shots to give NMU a 41-36 lead with 17:46 left.

But the Bulldogs fought back and retook a 44-43 lead in less than 2 1/2 minutes. They never trailed again.

NMU (5-14 GLIAC) did manage to tie the game once, but Ferris immediately went on a 7-0 tear to re-establish a 55-48 lead.

Ferris’ Noah King and D’Angelo Hughes nailed back-to-back triples to make it 67-50 and remained ahead by double digits the rest of the way.

Ferris had two players with double-doubles, Zach Hankis getting 29 points and 12 rebounds and Markese Mayfield with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Echols led NMU with 23 points, while Sam Taylor added 15.

The Wildcats travel to Grand Valley State at 3 p.m. Saturday before wrapping up their season on Thursday at Michigan Tech.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ray Bressette. His email address is rbressette@miningjournal.net.