Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team wants to add to 6-game win streak to end regular season this week

Northern Michigan University’s Makaylee Kuhn puts up a “shovel shot” from the lane in the third quarter of a GLIAC women’s basketball game played against Purdue Northwest at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Feb. 10. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team has parlayed a six-game winning streak into a home berth in the opening round of the upcoming GLIAC Tournament.

Now the Wildcats want to finish the season strong with two more wins this weekend, but it will be a brutal challenge with today’s 5:30 p.m. opponent on deck.

Grand Valley State is not only the league leader 24-2 overall and 15-1 in conference games, but the Lakers are ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division II. Saturday’s 11 a.m. foe, Davenport, doesn’t seem nearly as tough as the Panthers are tied for Lake Superior State for the bottom spot in the league at 3-23 and 1-15.

Saturday also marks NMU’s Senior Day with Makaylee Kuhn and Ana Rhude set to be honored.

NMU is 18-7 overall and 12-4 in the GLIAC, just a game behind second-place Ferris State (13-3).

On Saturday, Northern battled back to defeat Wayne State 80-74 in Detroit despite trailing 71-65 with 6:55 to play. Then the Wildcats went on an 11-0 run, and after the Warriors pulled to within 76-74 with 42 seconds left, Abi Fraaza made a layup with 21 seconds to go and Sarah Newcomer hit a pair of free throws after that to insure the road victory.

Kuhn led NMU scorers with 24 points as Jacy Weisbrod put in 22, lighting the nets from long distance as she swished 6 of 10 on 3-pointers. That helped earn Weisbrod GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week as he totaled 43 points and 11 triples over two games.

Grand Valley overpowers opponents, averaging 76.0 points per game while allowing just 48.9 ppg, the latter the second-best in the nation and the scoring margin of plus-27.1 also No. 2 in the country.

Rylie Bisballe leads the Lakers at 12.4 ppg, while Upper Peninsula native Megan Crow is shooting 63.2% (43 of 66).

Previously, GVSU downed the Wildcats 64-47 despite NMU leading 23-11 late in the first quarter.

Davenport, on a 10-game losing streak, shoots 35% from the field, 28% on 3s and 62% with free throws.

The Panthers are the second-lowest scoring team in the league at 55.7 ppg as Lillee Gustafson averages 10.8 ppg and 7.9 rebounds a contest.

In January, NMU won 73-47, using a 23-0 streak in the first half to blow it open. Kuhn had 23 points while making 9 of 13 shots that day to go with eight rebounds and five assists.

Here are a few other notes on these Wildcats as noted by NMU Sports Information:

• During the six-game winning streak, Northern is averaging 71.7 ppg while allowing just 56.8. Opponents are shooting 39% from the field and 26% from 3-pointers during that stretch.

• Kuhn leads the conference averaging 17.6 ppg and is fourth at 7.0 rebounds a contest. Kuhn had made 83.2% of her free throws (109 of 130), second in the GLIAC. Her NMU all-time career leading point total is now at 1,911.

• Rhude has been a force blocking shots, rejecting 28 of them this season, third in the league.

• Northern leads the GLIAC with 11.5 turnovers per game, also third in the country. And the Wildcats are 14th nationally with a 1.15 assist-to-turnover ratio and 15th by making 77.4% of their free throws.

• Mackenzie Holzwart (3.2 assists per game) and Kuhn (2.7) are one of two pairs of teammates in the league to be averaging at least 2.6 assists a game.

The Wildcats have lost their last 10 to GVSU, with the last win a 47-38 victory on the road on March 9, 2019. Against the Panthers, NMU has won five straight.

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


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