SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A 19-6 third quarter from the Wildcats including 14 unanswered to close the quarter fueled separation as the NMU women’s basketball team (12-7, 7-3) took down the Lake Superior State Lakers (5-13, 2-8) 50-34 at their place on Thursday. The 34 points allowed is a season-best mark for the fewest points allowed for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats bench provided a spark in this one, as they produced 30 of NMU’s 50 points on the night. Sarah Newcomer hit 2-3 triples and reached double figures with 10 points to lead the bench attack. Elena Alaix was 3-3 for eight points while Vivianne Jende also scored eight. Makaylee Kuhn led NMU’s scoring efforts with 12 points.
Mattison Rayman and Margot Woughter were largely the offense for the Lakers, as they each scored 15 points to combine for 30 of 34 points on the home team side. The rest of the LSSU offense was 2-21 (9.5%) in the game.
The Wildcats suffocating defense held the Lakers to 11-47 (23.4%) shooting from the floor, with even colder shooting coming from the three-point line, where they went 2-23 (8.7%). NMU was 20-59 (33.9%) with 3-15 (20%) shooting from beyond the arc.
How it Happened
It took each side over two minutes to put a dent in the scoreboard, but the Lakers struck first from post-presence Mattison Rayman 2:30 into action. Makaylee Kuhn responded to get the ‘Cats on the board with 6:45 on the 1st quarter clock.
Cold shooting was a common theme in the early going, as each side was 1-7 from the floor before some offensive production was discovered. A Vivianne Jende spin move and Makaylee Kuhn’s deep jumper pushed Northern ahead in the winding minutes of the opening frame, but LSSU closed the quarter on a 5-0 run to hold a slim 10-8 advantage after 10 minutes. Kuhn and Rayman matched each other blow for blow, leading their teams with six points apiece.
NMU responded with five straight to start the quarter, with Sarah Newcomer entering off the bench and knocking down NMU’s lone first-half triple. After the Lakers briefly regained a lead, the Green and Gold managed another six straight to go up five at 19-14. The Wildcats would double-up the Lakers in the second 12-6 and possess a 20-16 lead at recess. The Wildcats forced LSSU into 13 first-half turnovers with Newcomer pickpocketing the Lakers three times. Each team shot sub-30% with the coldest shooting coming from beyond the arc (NMU 1-8, LSSU 1-10).
The Lakers scored the first four points to open the second half and Mattison Rayman registered an early double-double, but the third quarter was key for NMU. After LSSU tied it 20-20, the Wildcats broke out on a 19-2 run including 14-0 to end the quarter. Taya Stevenson and Newcomer each connected on threes and Elena Alaix beat the buzzer to end the quarter, capping off a pivotal quarter for NMU as they took a 39-22 lead to the final frame.
The Wildcats extended the run to 16-0 with the first basket in the final quarter, but LSSU rattled off eight straight to briefly close the gap to 11. The Lakers were unable to get as hot as they needed, with Northern holding strong for a 50-34 victory.
- The Wildcats held LSSU to 34 points, a season-best mark for fewest points allowed.
- NMU’s bench produced 30 of 50 points (60%). Sarah Newcomer led the bench attack with 10 points while Makaylee Kuhn paced NMU with 12 points.
- Makaylee Kuhn has now reached double figures in 16 of 19 games this season.
- Lake Superior State was held to 11-47 (23.4%) from the floor, with even colder shooting coming from the three-point line, where they went 2-23 (8.7%).
- Northern Michigan forced Lake Superior State into 19 turnovers, including 13 in the first half, while only turning the ball over nine times themselves.
- Mattison Rayman and Margot Woughter each had 15 points to combine for 30 of 34 (88.2%) of LSSU’s scoring production. The rest of the Lakers were 2-21 (9.5%) from the floor.
The Wildcats will cross the Mighty Mac into Michigan’s Lower Peninsula with a matchup against the Ferris State Bulldogs looming on Saturday, January 28 at 1 p.m.