MOORHEAD, Minn. – Northern Michigan University (1-0, 0-0 GLIAC) used a last minute comeback to force overtime in the season opener where the Wildcats outscored the Eagles 14-6 in the extra period for an 81-73 win. The Wildcats finished the game shooting 26-64 (40.6%), which includes 7-15 (46.7%) from beyond the arc and 22-23 (95.7%) from the free-throw line. NMU also outrebounded the Eagles 49-32.
Northern Michigan started the game shooting hot against the Crookston zone early making their first nine field goals of the game with six of their makes coming from beyond the arc. Senior center Courtney Lemon helped kick start the offense making her first three three-point attempts. The Wildcats would miss their first field goal with 9:51 left to play in the half and found themselves up 26-14.
Senior forward Brooke Coenen then was able to create a three-point play the old-fashioned way to extend the Wildcat lead to 29-14 before the Eagles went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 29-21 forcing an NMU timeout with 8:31 remaining in the half. Crookston continued to chip away at the Wildcat lead out of the timeout and eventually tied the game at 36-36 with 1:21 remaining in the half.
The two teams would exchange baskets in the final minute to put the score at 38-38 for halftime.
Crookston’s Alexa Thielman finished the half leading all scorers with 15 points, while senior guard Alyssa Colla and Lemon led NMU with nine points apiece.
Both offenses shot the ball well in the half as NMU went 14-25 (56%) from the field and UMC shot 15-30 (50%).
The second half was tight from start to finish as the Wildcats and Eagles went back and forth with the largest lead occurring when NMU led by five points at a 48-43 score. NMU was able to hold onto the lead for the majority of the half until the final minute of play.
Emily Gruber of the Eagles gave Crookston the three point lead at 66-63 with 28 seconds left in the half, but senior forward Abbey DeBruin answered with a lay-up to cut the deficit down to one with 15 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats were then forced to foul and sent Micaelea Noga of Crookston to the line where she knocked down 1-2 in the bonus situation putting the score at 67-65 Crookston. NMU inbounded the ball and rushed the ball up the court with only 11 seconds remaining in the game when DeBruin layed in an easy basket with one second remaining to send the game to overtime.
In the extra period, Northern Michigan was able to dial up the pressure defensively forcing three turnovers. The two teams went back and forth for the first part of the overtime before NMU used a 6-0 run to take a comfortable six point lead at 75-69 with 1:28 remaining in overtime. The Wildcats would clinch the win at the free-throw line in the final minute finishing 12-13 from the charity stripe in the extra period. The final horn would sound giving Northern Michigan the 81-73 victory.
DeBruin would finish the game with a double-double as she scored 18 points and was able to pull down 11 rebounds.
Colla led all scorers with a game-high 25 points, while fellow senior guard Lauren Gruber chipped in another 17.
The Wildcats close out the weekend when they take on Minnesota State-Moorhead tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. (EST).
(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)