The women’s team used a 10-0 start to shut down the Storm and never relinquished their lead, winning 72-47. NMU dominated all aspects in the lane, outrebounding Lake Erie 48-27, had six blocks and scored 30 points in the paint.
NMU women’s head coach Troy Mattson said that intensity was their secret to the blowout victory.
“We looked kind of lackadaisical even in the shootaround against Ashland, so last couple days we had more intensity and it did good,” he said.
Bre Gaspervich led the way for the Wildcats with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Abby DeBruin also reached double digits in scoring and Sarah Miller added nine from the bench. Lauren Gruber had five assists.
Starting guard Alyssa Colla was injured in the first half with a sprained ankle. The senior leads the team with 18.8 points per game.
“With (Colla) hurt, I knew someone had to step up cause of the games she always had,” Gaspervich said. “I guess I stepped up today.”
The victory was Mattson’s return to the team after he was suspended on Dec. 16. The suspension was for comments made about Wayne State’s acquisition of their star player. NMU went 2-2 in the stretch.
The men had a more difficult time dispatching Lake Erie. Northern was up by 10 in the first half, but the streaky Storm hit a late run to pull within five at the half and to just one in the first minute of the second. LEC finally tied the score ten minutes into the half, but both teams didn’t hit another basket for over two minutes.
With 4:44 to go Chavis Mattison was fouled on a three pointer. The shot went in to tie the score and Mattison hit the free throw for the 42-41 lead. The four-point play sparked a 24-9 run to end the game for the 62-50 win.
The victory stopped a four-game losing streak and allowed them to split their games against the GLIAC’s South Division.
“This was a must win for us,” NMU men’s coach Bill Sall said. “This allows us to keep in focus.”
Jordan Perez led the Wildcats in scoring with 17 points and Marcus Hall added 13 more. Four other players hit multiple baskets for NMU.
“We don’t have that super All American on this team,” captain Terry Nash said about the balanced scoring attack. “One night you have a bunch of points, then the next night you have zero but six assists. That’s the Wildcat basketball we play.”
The women’s team improve to 7-5 overall and 5-3 in GLIAC play, while the men are 6-8 overall and 4-4 in the conference. Both teams will begin their divisional games, starting with Grand Valley at home next Thursday, Jan. 15. Tip off for the women will be at 5:30 p.m. with the men following.