MARQUETTE, Mich. – The No. 11-ranked Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team came back from a 20-point second-half deficit to visiting Concordia-St. Paul and forced overtime but a last second Wildcat shot fell short and the Golden Bears picked up a 70-69 win over NMU Sunday at the Berry Events Center.
It was the first loss of the season for the Wildcats who fell to 2-1 overall while Concordia-St. Paul evened its ledger at 2-2.
After being outscored 34-17 in the opening frame, the Wildcats stormed back and tied the game at 57-57 when senior guard Lauren Gruber sank two free throws with 2:08 left in the second half.
The Golden Bears retook lead on a layup by Mishayla Jones with 1:31 left in regulation but a jumper by NMU senior guard Alyssa Colla with 58-seconds left tied the game again at 59-59. The Wildcats took its first lead of the game when sophomore guard Bre Gaspervich connected on two free throws with 25 ticks left on the clock, 61-59.
Concordia was sent to the line with 13-seconds left and Anika Whitling converted both shots to tie the game and send it into overtime.
NMU outscored the Golden Bears 44-27 in the second half including scoring 10 points off five Concordia-St. Paul turnovers.
The Golden Bears scored the first six points of the overtime but senior forward Abbey DeBruin connected on two-of-three free throws and Colla sank another three to tie the game at 69-69 with 1:43 left in the overtime.
Lauren Shifflett converted the first half of two free throws with 1:10 left in overtime to take a 70-69 lead for CSP. The Wildcats got a final look at the basket on an out of bounds underneath their own goal but DeBruin’s attempt was blocked as the horn sounded.
“This game was about us not making shots in the first half,” said NMU head coach Troy Mattson. “We were rushing our shots and couldn’t get the ball to go in. I thought we executed really well, our turnovers were down at halftime. We just missed a lot of shots we should make we just got ourselves in a predicament where e were down by 17 at the half.
“I give these girls a lot of credit they never stopped fighting. We got back in the game and had opportunities to win. But give Concordia-St. Paul all the credit they made big plays throughout the whole game, even when we had the momentum they made some big plays to get the ball in the basket or make it to the free throw line ultimately they get the win because of it. But there is no shame in what happened today, we competed for all 40 minutes which is all I ever ask of them.”
The Wildcats out rebounded Concordia-St. Paul 49-43 including an edge of 16-10 on the offensive boards. NMU converted that into 17-second chance points while the Golden Bears had eight.
Colla led all players with 24 points going 7-17 from the floor, 2-3 from three-point range and 8-10 from the free throw line. She also had eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Gruber recorded a double-double for NMU scoring 12 points with 10 rebounds, which led all players. DeBruin rounded out the Wildcats scoring in double figures with 13 points.
Whiting led the Golden Bears with 23 points and eight rebounds.
The Wildcats return to action by opening Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference play at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Walsh.
(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)