Offense frozen out in pair of Northern Michigan University women’s basketball losses

Northern Michigan University's Makaylee Kuhn, left, sprints around St. Cloud State's Katrina Theis during their women's basketball game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (Photo courtesy NMU)

MARQUETTE — The offense dried up over the weekend as the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team suffered a pair of defeats at home as the Wildcats enter GLIAC play this week.

Minnesota-Duluth held NMU to under 40 points in a 50-37 victory, while St. Cloud State slipped past Northern 55-51.

The Wildcats open conference play on the road this week with games in Hammond, Indiana, at Purdue Northwest at 6 p.m. EST Thursday and in Kenosha, Wisconsin, at Wisconsin-Parkside at 2 p.m. EST Saturday.

NMU, which is now 4-3, returns home for another conference doubleheader weekend starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, against Ferris State.

Here is a roundup of the weekend action:


Minnesota-Duluth 50, NMU 37

On Friday at the Berry Events Center, the Wildcats went into a deep freeze with their shooting, missing all 15 of their 3-point shots and only making 25 percent (11 of 44) overall from the field.

Even the free-throw shooting was iffy as they made 63 percent (15 of 24).

One bright spot was Northern’s second-leading scorer, Alyssa Nimz, who went 3 for 3 from the field and 4 of 4 on free throws for 10 points.

She trailed only Makaylee Kuhn’s 14 points for team scoring honors. While Kuhn also made all four of her free-throw tries, he managed just 5 of 14 from the field, including 0 of 5 on triples.

But Kuhn did rack up game highs of 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, while Nimz made seven rebounds and had no turnovers in 19 minutes court time.

No other NMU player scored more than four points.

Meanwhile, Brooke Olson led UMD (4-1) with 18 points even though, like Kuhn, she missed all five of her 3-point tries.

As a team, the Bulldogs made 37 percent (20 of 54) overall and 23 percent on 3s (5 of 22).

Northern stayed closer than it might’ve by outrebounding Duluth 42-28 and committing seven less fouls (19-12), though the Wildcats also had almost twice as many turnovers, 20-11, as the Bulldogs made 10 steals.

After NMU’s Kayla Tierney hit a jumper to tie the score 2-2 almost four minutes into the game, Duluth reeled off an 11-3 run to end the quarter with a 13-5 lead.

The Bulldogs’ lead quickly hit double digits in the second quarter and stayed there, ending with a 27-11 advantage at halftime.

And UMD took its biggest lead less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, 48-22, before the Wildcats ended the game on a 15-2 run. Nimz made three layups and two free throws in that stretch.


St. Cloud State 55, NMU 51

On Saturday at the BEC, the Wildcats shot better, but probably still below average, in a game that swang back and forth.

NMU was just 28 percent from the field (15 of 54), but did manage to hit three 3-pointers, but with 15 attempts it was just 20 percent success from long distance.

Their free-throw shooting markedly improved to 82 percent (18 of 22).

Kuhn led the Wildcats with 19 points as she made 11 of 14 free throws. While she was 2 of 4 on triples, her overall shooting was only 3 of 13.

But she did have a team-high seven rebounds to go with two steals and two assists.

Abi Fraaza added eight points for the Wildcats, shooting perfectly — 3 of 3 from the field and 2 of 2 on free throws. NMU’s Andrea Perez, Mackenzie Holzwart and Ana Rhude added six points apiece as Rhude and Fraaza each pulled down six rebounds.

Perez made a team-high three steals and Holzwart an NMU-best three assists.

Tori Peschel and Dru Henning paced the Huskies (3-2) with 13 points apiece as they combined to make 7 of 9 free throws.

St. Cloud led throughout the first quarter, moving its lead into double digits, 16-6, before Tierney hit a jumper with 2:31 left in the period to make it 16-8 after one.

Northern’s deficit swang between four and 10 points in the second quarter, Kuhn getting it down to 27-23 late with a free throw as it was 28-23 at halftime.

NMU took its first lead, 34-33, with 4:18 to go in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by Perez as the score was tied 37-37 entering the final period.

And while the Huskies spent most of the fourth quarter ahead, the Wildcats did take one final lead, 51-50, with 58 seconds remaining after a Fraaza layup.

But the home team wouldn’t score again as Henning made a pair of free throws with 45 seconds to go and a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left to provide St. Cloud’s winning margin.

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


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