Ana Rhude perfect in Northern Michigan University Wildcat women’s basketball 70-45 win at Michigan Tech

Northern Michigan University’s Mackenzie Holzwart drives the baseline during the third quarter as she readies to pass during a GLIAC women’s basketball game played against Michigan Tech in Houghton on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

HOUGHTON — A bit of perfection is what it took to break the Wildcats’ long losing streak to Michigan Tech on Saturday.

Northern Michigan University junior center Ana Rhude tied a program record by making 8 of 8 shots for 16 points as NMU bounced the Huskies 70-45 on Saturday afternoon in Houghton.

She tied the NMU women’s basketball mark for most field goals made in a game without a miss that is now held by three players, the other two being Krista Pray in 1983 and former program scoring leader Lisa Jamula in 1989.

Saturday’s win broke Northern’s 14-game losing streak to Tech that dated back to 2017, marking the first win for NMU fifth-year senior Makaylee Kuhn against the team’s biggest Upper Peninsula rival. It was also Northern’s first win against the Huskies in Houghton since 2010.

Not only was that excellent timing for Kuhn, but the Wildcats could use the win as they cemented their third-place position in the GLIAC at 10-4 as they’re also 16-7 overall.

NMU is up two games in the loss column over fourth-place Wayne State (9-6) and fifth-place Tech (8-6) in the race for home court in the GLIAC Tournament opening-round quarterfinals in just over two weeks on March 6. The league’s best four records host the next four in that single-game round.

And the Wildcats got within two games of second-place Ferris State (12-2), which split a pair of games at home last week, losing to Saginaw Valley State 47-44 before beating Wayne State 74-64. League leader Grand Valley State is at 13-1 and doesn’t look like it will get caught.

On Saturday, Rhude actually shared game scoring honors with Kuhn, who also had 16 points on a more modest 5-of-13 day from the field. However, while Rhude wasn’t afforded the opportunity to even visit the free-throw line, Kuhn lived there as she made 6 of 6 from the stripe.

Rhude added a game-high nine rebounds, while Kuhn had five rebounds, two assists and no turnovers in 35 minutes court time.

Mackenzie Holzwart, who had been quiet on the scoring front for awhile, pumped in 14 points as she nearly matched Rhude by making 7 of 8 from the field, her only miss a 3-point try. And Jacy Weisbrod contributed 12 points to the winning effort as the only player on either team to make multiple triples, hitting 2 of 4 there to go with four rebounds.

In fact, the long-range shots weren’t much of a factor as the teams combined to make just 16%, NMU hitting three and Tech two each on 16 attempts.

Katelyn Meister paced the Huskies (12-10 overall) with 14 points and team highs of seven rebounds and two steals.

One place the Wildcats shined was at the line. Led by Kuhn, Northern was a perfect 13 of 13 there compared to just 3 of 6 for the Huskies.

Despite the lopsided final score, this was a barnburner throughout the first half with the visitors ahead just 31-30 at halftime.

Northern led for almost all the first quarter before settling for a 14-12 advantage headed into quarter No. 2 after Weisbrod hit a 3 with 24 seconds left.

There were eight lead changes in the second quarter, when neither team had more than a two-point lead, NMU again hanging onto a one-point advantage at intermission after Rhude made a layup with 29 seconds to go.

It all changed in the second half. Despite spotting the Huskies a 32-31 lead after MTU’s Emma Anderson hit a jumper less than first 15 seconds into the third quarter, Northern steadily pumped in baskets while Tech was unable to make anything fall. By the end of the period, NMU built a 50-39 lead as Kuhn had 10 third-quarter points.

The Wildcats didn’t let up to start the fourth, either, outscoring the Huskies 12-2 over the first 5:15 to build a 62-41 advantage.

Overall in the second half, Northern held a 39-15 scoring edge to produce the 25-point victory.

NMU jumps on the bus this week for its last regular-season road trip, traveling to University Center to take on seventh-place SVSU at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and to Detroit to face fourth-place Wayne State at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The final week of the regular season brings the Wildcats home to play league-leading GVSU on Feb. 29 and ninth-place Davenport on March 2.

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


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