Ferris holds off last-ditch attempt by NMU women’s hoops

BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State got the last word, taking the final lead of the game with 2:21 to go and hanging on for a 47-46 victory over the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats’ Courtney Lemon missed a game-tying 3-pointer as time was running down while the rebound went to teammate Lauren Gruber, who made a 2-point layup at the buzzer as Northern fell a point short and slipped to 8-6 overall and 5-5 in the GLIAC.

After several lead changes early, Sarah Miller hit a 3-pointer to make it 10-7 Northern with 14:26 left in the first half, part of a 14-0 run that turned a 7-4 deficit into an 18-7 advantage.

The Wildcats kept their lead for 26 minutes until Ferris tied it 35-35 with 8:15 to go on a layup by Ashley Rando.

The lead changed hands three times down the stretch, but the Bulldogs (9-4, 8-2) went ahead for good when Kara Hess hit a triple with 4:34 to go to make it 42-40.

Northern tied it 42-42 on a layup by Anna Liewen 1:45 later, but never regained the lead. When Hannah Hoffman made 1 of 2 free throws with 17 seconds to go, Ferris led 47-44 to set up Northern’s last-second attempt to force overtime.

Gruber, Lemon, Miller and Alyssa Colla each scored 10 points for NMU. Gruber led Wildcat rebounders with seven.

Northern held a 36-32 rebounding advantage but turned the ball over one more time, 15-14. One of the biggest differences was at the free-throw line, where Ferris made 15 of 20 and Northern was just 2 of 4.

Hess and Katie Mavis paced the Bulldogs with 12 points apiece and Hess had a game-high 10 rebounds.

Northern returns home for a pair of games this week at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Saginaw Valley State and 1 p.m. Saturday vs. Wayne State, both at the Berry Events Center.