The Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team will host the quarterfinals of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament, today, March 5. Tip off is set for 7 p.m..
The ’Cats finished the season 19-7 overall and 16-6 in conference play to grab the second seed for the tournament. Michigan Tech and Ashland (Ohio) also had the same conference record, but the seed went to NMU through tiebreakers.
The Wildcats opponent will be the Northwood Timberwolves. The T’wolves finished 14-12 overall and 12-10 in the GLIAC. Led by forward Lauren Robak, Northwood is ninth in both points scored and points allowed in the 16-team conference.
Northern relies on heavy defense however, as opponents score just 62.8 points when facing NMU, the best defensive total in the league. NMU also has the second-best defensive shooting percentage from the field at 37.8 percent.
NMU won both regular season meetings and own a 45-14 all time advantage.
Northern is lead by junior guard Alyssa Colla. She is averaging 16.8 points per game (ppg), while the next best Wildcat is just under 10 ppg. Colla was named GLIAC North player of the week for the third time this season on Tuesday.
GLIAC Tournament first round
#8 Hillsdale (11-11) at #1 Wayne State (17-5)
#7 Northwood (12-10) at #2 Northern Michigan (16-6)
#6 Saginaw Valley (12-10) at #3 Michigan Tech (16-6)
#5 Malone (14-8) at #4 Ashland (16-6)
Northern was also the second seed in the GLIAC in 2010. That year NMU also appeared in the NCAA tournament, recording the largest upset of the tournament as a seven-seed over the second-seed University of Indianapolis. NMU lost in the round of 32 to Drury University. Michigan Tech won the regional that year.
Midwest rankings (Last updated Feb 26)
1. Drury University 21-2
2. Lewis University 18-4
3. Quincy University 16-3
4. University of Indianapolis 18-5
5. Wayne State 18-6
6. Northern Michigan 16-7
7. Missouri - St. Louis 16-6
8. Michigan Tech 18-7
9. Southern Indiana 16-8
10. Ashland University 17-7
A big win at home will help the ’Cats return to the NCAA tournament. The NCAA Division II tournament is divided into eight regionals of eight teams. The regional champions go to the nationals. Currently Northern sits in sixth in the Midwest regional rankings. With wins over Michigan Tech and Ashland, a win should guarantee a spot in the tournament.
NMU could improve their ranking with a little help from Wayne State (Mich.). The Warriors were the top seeded team in the GLIAC and are currently ranked fifth in the regional rankings. A loss against eighth-seeded Hillsdale and GLIAC South player of the week Megan Fogt, and the ’Cats should vault over them to the fifth spot. A first-round exit by Wayne State would also give NMU home court advantage for the semifinals and finals of the GLIAC tournament.