Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team hosts Finlandia tonight

Northern Michigan University's Samantha Potter, left, watches the play during a game against Finlandia last season played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. (Photo courtesy NMU)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team plays its home opener tonight coming off its first loss of the season in Minnesota on Saturday.

The Wildcats host Upper Peninsula rival Finlandia at 7 p.m. today at the Berry Events Center with a 3-1 record after NMU lost at Southwest Minnesota State 86-74 over the weekend.

GLIAC Preseason First Team pick Makaylee Kuhn leads Northern with 15.0 points and 4.3 assists per game. As a team, NMU averages 73.8 points and is shooting 44.4% from the field overall and 38.2% on 3-pointers.

Finlandia, an NCAA Division III team in Hancock, has a 2-3 record and averages 67.2 ppg and shoots 37.0% from the floor overall and 23.6% on 3s.

Junior Natalie Bartle, a Negaunee High School graduate, leads the Lions in just about every statistic, averaging 20.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.2 steals per game.

Fans can follow this Wildcats team @nmu_wbball and @NMU_Wildcats on Twitter for updates throughout the week. Visit the NMU sports website, nmuwildcats.com, under the women’s basketball schedule, for links to video, live statistics, ticket sales, a game preview and history of the rivalry.

Also during last week’s road trip, Northern defeated Minnesota-Crookston 74-64 on Thursday night as the Wildcats have two more home games this week — at 3 p.m. Friday against Minnesota-Duluth and at 3 p.m. Saturday vs. St. Cloud State.

Then NMU begins its GLIAC campaign in Hammond, Indiana, at 6 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 1, at Purdue Northwest.

On Saturday, Abi Fraaza came off the bench to lead the Wildcats with 22 points as she made 7 off 11 shots from the field and 8 of 10 free throws. She also had six rebounds and two blocked shots.

Kuhn contributed 17 points, five rebounds, two blocks and two assists, while Ana Rhude scored 14 points and Mackenzie Holzwart pulled down a team-high seven rebounds while scoring six points.

The Mustangs’ Jenna Borchers led all scorers with 25 points, which included five 3s and 4 of 4 free throws.

SWMU jumped out to a 9-2 lead barely more than two minutes into the game before NMU roared back to tie it 11-11 on a Kayla Tierney 3-pointer with 4:49 left.

The Wildcats kept their momentum going as Tierney’s bucket was in the midst of a 12-0 run that gave them an 18-11 lead with 2:40 left in the quarter on a Sarah Newcomer triple.

SWMU got back within 20-17 by the end of the opening quarter, though NMU kept the lead until the Mustangs’ Audrey Swanson made a layup with 3:27 left in the first half for a 31-30 lead that was at 40-38 at halftime.

Then the home team wouldn’t relinquish its lead in the second half, building it to 63-53 with 2:35 left in the third.

After Northern got back within 65-60 at the end of the quarter, the Wildcats didn’t score for almost four minutes to start the fourth.

SWMU built its lead into double digits, 73-61, when Fraaza made a free throw with 6:02 left, and the Mustangs’ lead wouldn’t fall under 10 points again.

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


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