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Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team salvages split at Davenport with win Saturday

Makaylee Kuhn

GRAND RAPIDS — Northern Michigan University stifled the Davenport offense in the first half and took a much-needed 62-43 victory in a GLIAC women’s basketball game played Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats (8-8) salvaged a split of their weekend series in Grand Rapids against the struggling Panthers (5-11), keeping a firm hold on a postseason tournament home court spot in the opening round, too.

NMU ranks seventh in the 12-team league with the

Nos. 5 though 8 seeds playing at home to open the tourney and the top four getting a bye. While Northern is only two games ahead of the No. 9 team, Ferris State (6-10), the Wildcats still have a shot at a first-round bye as they are only one game behind the No. 4 teams, Ashland and Wayne State, both at 9-7.

NMU finishes its regular season at home in the PEIF gym against Purdue Northwest at 2 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday.

On Saturday, the Wildcats kept Davenport scoring in single digits in each of the first two quarters, taking a 28-16 halftime lead. The Panthers shot 4 of 24 from the field in the first half, though they made 7 of 10 free throws.

Ana Rhude

By the middle of the first quarter, Northern grabbed an 8-0 when Ishpeming High School graduate Madigan Johns made a layup with 5:11 left. The lead got to as high as 14-4 before the Wildcats settled for a 16-9 lead at the end of the period.

In the second, their lead swelled to 28-13 before the Panthers’ Toni Grace sank a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left.

Davenport cut its deficit to nine points several times in the first four minutes of the third quarter, but after that, the Wildcats kept their lead in double digits the rest of the way.

At the end of a 10-0 run in the middle of the fourth, NMU held its biggest lead at 61-35 when Ana Rhude made a free throw with 3:30 remaining.

Northern’s Makaylee Kuhn led all scorers with 17 points, making 7 of 10 shots from the field and all three of her free-throw attempts. She added five assists.

Rhude scored 13 go with five rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots, while teammate Elena Alaix had 11 points.

While NMU definitely shot better from the field, 46 to 28 percent, the Wildcats really held a huge advantage in rebounding, 43-23, led by Samantha Potter with 17 to go with five points and two assists.

Grace topped Panthers scorers with 14 points as Pickford product Taylor Opolka had 12. Makenna Bryant, who played on the Newberry High School varsity team as a freshman before moving with her family downstate, had one point and one rebound.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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