MARQUETTE - The sixth-place Northern Michigan University women's basketball team has a chance to move up in the GLIAC North standings this week with a 3 p.m. showdown at fifth-place Northwood on Saturday in downstate Midland.
First, however, the Wildcats (9-7 overall, 6-6 in GLIAC) must dispatch Upper Peninsula rival Lake Superior State at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Sault Ste. Marie before taking a crack at the Timberwolves (9-9, 7-5). The Lakers (5-11, 4-8) are last in the North.
Northern nearly caught the Timberwolves a week ago at home after defeating Saginaw Valley State, 67-57, only to fall to Wayne State, 63-59.
Northwood bounced back from two losses two weeks ago to rout Ferris State, 70-46, and beat Grand Valley State, 74-65, last week. NMU lost to both FSU and GVSU two weeks ago.
Sophomores Lauren Gruber and Alyssa Colla continue to lead the Wildcats' offensive attack, with Gruber averaging 12.6 points per game and Colla posting 11.4 points per game.
NMU's leading rebounder, freshman Nea Makela at 5.7 boards per game, returned against SVSU and WSU, though she saw limited action after missing both games at Ferris and GVSU with a knee injury.
Makela played 19 minutes against SVSU, posting 10 points and five rebounds. She was held to 10 points and three rebounds in the loss to WSU.
The Timberwolves have three players averaging double figures. Senior Rachel Church is posting 12.6 points per game, freshman Lauren Robak is scoring 10.6 points per contest and sophomore Gabrielle Rivette is averaging 10 points per game.
Marquette native and Marquette Senior High School grad Jade Ledy is averaging 2.5 points and 7.8 minutes per game as a sophomore for the Timberwolves.
LSSU is paced by senior Maria Blazejewski, who averages 17 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Former Westwood standout Megan Manninen, a Laker freshman, is averaging 2.4 points and 16.6 minutes per game.