Few easy points: Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team allows lowest point total of year to beat Lake Superior State, 50-34

Northern Michigan University’s Makaylee Kuhn, right, works around an unidentified Lake Superior State defender during their GLIAC women’s basketball game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Dec. 11. (Photo courtesy NMU)

SAULT STE. MARIE — With the bench doing a majority of the scoring, the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team’s defense took over the game in the middle two quarters for a 50-34 victory at Lake Superior State on Thursday evening.

The Wildcats kept pace near the top of the GLIAC race, improving to 12-7 overall and 7-3 in the league, a game behind second-place Michigan Tech and Wisconsin-Parkside at 8-2 and two games behind league leader Grand Valley State at 9-1.

Of those teams, only Tech lost Thursday, a 63-60 setback at Ferris State, the team NMU plays at 1 p.m. Saturday in Big Rapids.

With Thursday’s loss, the Lakers fell to 5-13 overall and 2-8 in the GLIAC, though they hold down the eighth and final postseason tournament position.

While fulltime starter and Northern leading scorer Makaylee Kuhn led her team with 12 points, the bench produced 30 of the Wildcats’ 50 points on this night.

Finlandia's Carsyn Osterman, right, a graduate of Baraga High School, drives to the basket as Northern Michigan University's Samantha Potter defends in the third quarter of their college basketball game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Jan. 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

They were led by Sarah Newcomer with 10 and Vivianne Jende and Elena Alaix with eight apiece.

While Kuhn’s scoring total might’ve been down from her average, she also contributed team highs of seven rebounds and four assists while making a pair of steals.

Newcomer had a team-high four steals, while Jende added in five rebounds.

The Lakers got nearly all their points from Margot Woughter and Mattison Rayman, each of whom scored 15 points. That pair made 9 of 26 shots from the field (34.6%), which isn’t great, but a lot better than the rest of their team that only made 2 of 21 (9.5%).

Three-pointers were even worse, as Woughter and Rayman combined for 2 of 10 (20%), compared to the rest of the Lakers going 0 of 13 (0%) for a combined team total of 2 of 23 (8.7%).

Both teams did shoot free throws well, though, NMU making 7 of 9 (78%) and LSSU sinking 10 of 12 (83%).

But as the numbers show, the Wildcats won with defense, keeping Lake State at the lowest point total for an NMU opponent this season.

LSSU scored just a half-dozen points in each of the middle two quarters after the Lakers established a 10-8 lead after one period.

Northern led most of the opening quarter, including 6-2 about halfway through, but LSSU scored the final five points in the last minute on a Rayman 3 and Woughter pair of free throws.

Lake State’s lead didn’t last long. After the teams traded the advantage a couple times, Alyssa Nimz gave NMU a 15-14 lead with 5:58 left in the second quarter on a layup.

Though the Wildcats upped the advantage to 20-16 by halftime, LSSU had a bit of fight left to start the second half, scoring the first four points to tie it 20-20 with 6:49 left in the third on a pair of Rayman free throws.

Less than a minute later, Northern’s Taya Stevenson hit a 3-pointer that gave her team the lead for good, 23-20, with 5:58 to go in the third.

That started a 19-2 run that extended through the end of the quarter and gave NMU firm control, up 39-22 headed to the fourth.

The Wildcats twice upped their lead to 19 points, 41-22 and 43-24, early in the fourth following layups by Jende and Alaix, respectively, and they kept their edge in double digits the rest of the way.

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


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