Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team looks to break 14-game losing streak to Michigan Tech Huskies today in Houghton

Northern Michigan University’s Makaylee Kuhn, left, takes a shot against Wisconsin-Parkside at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Feb. 8. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

MARQUETTE — This afternoon’s game for the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team is more than just part of a heated rivalry with Michigan Tech — it could determine which team or teams get home court in the first-round quarterfinals of the upcoming GLIAC Tournament.

The Wildcats sit in third place at 9-4 (15-7 overall) while the Huskies are a game back but two spots lower in fifth at 8-5 (12-9). Between them is fourth-place Wayne State at 9-5 in league contests.

The top four teams earn home court against the next four teams in the tourney’s opening round, which is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6.

Today’s Northern-Tech game in Houghton tips off at 1 p.m. and will be televised on Fox-U.P. and broadcast on radio station WUPT 100.3 FM The Point. Fan can follow @NMU_WBBall and @NMU_Wildcats on X (formerly Twitter) for updates at all times, or visit the NMU athletics website at nmuwildcats.com and look under the women’s basketball schedule for links to a game preview and history and live statistics, video and audio.

“We’ve got to be better on the defensive end, and offensively we have to be in attack mode again, which we didn’t really do that first game,” Northern head coach Casey Thousand said about the first NMU-MTU matchup in late January in an NMU Sports Information release previewing today’s game. “It’s gonna be back and forth and I’m excited to put on a better display of who we are and what we do.”

That first meeting in Marquette on Jan. 27 went the Huskies’ way, 71-58, for their 14th straight win in the series. Tech jumped out to a 27-16 lead after one quarter as Makaylee Kuhn led Northern with 12 points and teammate Jacy Weisbrod added 10. MTU’s Katelyn Meister led all scorers with 16 points.

Northern’s last win against the Huskies was on Jan. 30, 2017, when Bre Gaspervich led the way for the Green and Gold with 20 points and five steals.

Today’s game and others in the GLIAC today will also raise funds for cancer research as the league has partnered with Play4Kay, which supports under-resourced programs that provide access to quality care and uniting people in the fight against all cancers affecting women.

NMU currently has a three-game winning streak, including both of last week’s games — a 71-60 victory at home vs. Wisconsin-Parkside on Thursday and 73-62 home triumph over Purdue Northwest last Saturday.

Against PNW, Northern shot 45.9% (28 of 61) from the field as Kuhn scored 25 points, 20 in the second half. Weisbrod had 15 with three 3-pointers, while teammate CJ Romero had five assists and Abi Fraaza seven rebounds.

The Huskies have won their last two and five of the past six. For the season, Tech shoots 40.9% from the field and 32.4% on 3s, while also making 80.9% on free throws, tops in the country.

Tech’s scoring, however, has dropped about seven points a game from last season to this season, where it is at 63.0 points per game, sixth in the GLIAC. Junior guard Isabella Lenz leads the offense at 13.0 ppg, while Meister, a senior guard, is at 10.8 ppg and 6.0 rebounds an outing.

Here are some notes on the Wildcat women as gleaned by NMU SI:

• Kuhn is coming off GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week honors following back-to-back 25-point performances in last week’s games. She leads the conference in scoring at 17.4 ppg and is fourth with 7.1 rebounds a contest. She has made 82.4% on free throws (98 of 119), fifth in the GLIAC.

• Northern leads the GLIAC in fewest turnovers per game (11.2), which is second in the nation. The Wildcats are also 10th nationally in their assist-to-turnover ratio (1.22). Northern has three players averaging at least a 2-to-1 ratio in assists to turnovers with Romero at 2.6, Kuhn 2.1 and Mackenzie Holzwart 2.0. Those rank third, fifth and seventh, respectively, in the league.

• NMU allows just 6.3 offensive rebounds per game to opponents, the fewest in the conference. The ‘Cats are also second in the conference in rebounding margin (6.5) and fourth in free throw percentage (76.0%).

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


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