Gruber leads ‘Cats past SVSU

Courtesy of NMU Athletics

MARQUETTE, Mich. – A pair of free throws from junior guard Lauren Gruber with 8.1-seconds left on the clock gave the Northern Michigan women’s basketball team a 64-63 victory over visiting Saginaw Valley State in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference action Thursday at the Berry Events Center.

With the win, the Wildcats improve to 15-7 overall with a 12-6 GLIAC mark. Saginaw Valley State fell to 12-8 overall with a 10-7 league mark.

“We are just hanging in, we couldn’t get the ball to go in the basket tonight,” said NMU head coach Troy Mattson. “We have really good shooters that are struggling to get the ball in the basket. We hung in there though. I thought the girls did an incredible job of managing the game especially when we got out of timeouts. They didn’t panic and all of a sudden you make a couple of shots and you get rejuvenated.”

Gruber led all players with 25 points going 8-13 from the floor, 3-5 from three-point range and 6-6 from the charity stripe. Junior guard Alyssa Colla and senior forward Annie Rubendunst joined Gruber in double-digits scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Greene recorded a double-double scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds to lead the Cardinals in both categories.

NMU trailed 54-45 with 5:17 left to go but the Wildcats closed the game on a 19-9 run to take the win. Gruber scored 12 points during that run including the last seven for the Wildcats.

Gruber laid the ball in with 30-seconds left on the clock to move NMU within three, 62-59. Saginaw Valley’s Kristen Greene then hit the front half of two free throws before a three-pointer by Gruber with 22-seconds left in the game moved NMU within one, 63-62. Greene then committed an offensive foul and the Cardinals fouled to send Gruber to the line for the final time.

NMU shot 36.9-percent from the floor connecting on 24-65 of their attempts including going 5-18 from the three point line and 11-13 from the free throw line.

Saginaw Valley outrebounded the Wildcats 42-36 but NMU outscored the Cardinals 36-18 in the paint. Rubendunst led the Wildcats with nine rebounds followed by sophomore forward Nea Makela with eight and junior forward Abbey DeBruin with seven.

A jumper by Saginaw Valley’s Kristen Greene as time expired gave the Cardinals a 28-26 lead going into the break. Greene led all players with 10 first half points and had seven first-half rebounds. Gruber led the Wildcats with eight first half points.

NMU shot 33.3-percent from the floor in the first half connecting on 11-33 of their attempts. SVSU went 12-27 from the floor for a 44.4-field goal percentage. NMU outscored Saginaw Valley 20-2 in the paint during the first half and took advantage of six Cardinals turnovers scoring six off those miscues.

NMU returns to action on Saturday hosting Wayne State at 11 a.m. at the Berry Events Center.