Not quite enough

MARQUETTE – Troy Mattson says his Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team only played effectively for a half Thursday night.

“You have to play hard for 40 minutes, not 20,” the veteran coach said after his Wildcats lost a 68-61 decision to Grand Valley State at the Berry Events Center.

“We didn’t play hard for 40. So, we got ourselves in trouble. That has been a constant (all season).”

Trailing 42-28 at the half, the Wildcats (7-6 overall, 5-4 GLIAC) rallied to take a 58-56 lead with 4:39 left on a 3-point bucket by Alyssa Colla.

But the Lakers (10-3, 7-2) – behind triples by Taylor Lutz and Gladstone junior guard Jammie Botruff – outscored NMU 12-3 down the stretch to win going away.

“Botruff and Lutz both hit big 3s,” Mattson said. “Give (the Lakers) some credit. They played harder on the defensive end … and made some plays.”

Alyssa Colla scored 15 points, Courtney Lemon 13 and Lauren Gruber 11 for NMU.

GV got 18 points from Kayla Dawson, 14 from Brionna Barnett and nine from Botruff.

GV led by 18 points, 42-24, late in the first half, taking advantage of NMU turnovers and sinking 15 of 28 shots from the field for 53.6 percent.

“They played harder than we did and made their shots,” Mattson said. “I wasn’t happy with our effort at the half. We just didn’t play hard enough.”

Added Gruber: “We were switching a lot on defense and that gave (the Lakers) an advantage. It got us on our heels.”

Mattson said he made some defensive adjustments at the half. That and better execution on offense helped the Wildcats cut the GV lead to 44-36 on a bucket by Gruber just 4:21 into the second half.

“We took away the baseline and got some momentum,” Gruber said. “We also started making some shots. We were anxious in the first half.”

Added teammate Sarah Miller: “That gave us a boost. We just played harder.”

NMU concluded a 19-9 run with Colla’s triple for its first lead (55-53) since going up 4-3 just 1:23 into the game on a Bre Gaspervich jumper.

But the Wildcats couldn’t sustain the rally and the Lakers executed on both ends of the floor to take the road victory.

“We had a chance (to win). We got ourselves back into the game,” Mattson said. “But we didn’t execute on the offensive end (late).

“We’re in a lot of trouble now. We only have one way to go. If we don’t start winning some games, especially home games, we’ll be at best a .500 team.”

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@miningjournal.net.