Ferris State hits big 3-pointers to defeat Northern Michigan women in overtime 73-70

MARQUETTE – The Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team rallied from a 12-point deficit, led Ferris State by four points with a minute to play in regulation, and even picked up a late free throw and block to force overtime.

What the Wildcat women didn’t do, however, was stop the Bulldogs beyond the arc late in the game.

FSU junior guard Sarah DeShone hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 24 seconds to play in regulation and her senior teammate Kylie Muntz hit the go-ahead trey with 1:20 remaining in overtime to hand the ‘Cats a 73-70 OT loss at the Berry Events Center during Saturday’s Pink Wave to benefit the Marquette Cancer Center.

“Sarah DeShone really stuck a dagger in us making two huge 3s when it was crunch time,” NMU head coach Troy Mattson said. “That’s why she is one of the two or three best players in this league.”

DeShone hit a pair of 3s in the final 60 seconds to erase the Wildcats’ four-point advantage.

The FSU (11-9 overall, 10-7 in GLIAC) sharpshooter nailed her second 3 of the afternoon with 48 seconds left in regulation to cut the NMU (11-10 overall, 8-9 in GLIAC) lead to one point.

DeShone’s trey with 24 seconds to play in the second half came with a pair of free throws, but not by her. Teammate Kara Hess was held by NMU sophomore guard Lauren Gruber as DeShone’s shot sailed through the air, sending Hess to the line.

“It’s a pretty gutsy call with 30 seconds left in the game to call a foul right underneath the basket,” Mattson said. “Honestly, I thought the foul whistle blew before the shot went up, but my ears always hear the thing that goes in our favor.

“It really was a big momentum swing for them.”

The Bulldogs only made one of two attempts and Wildcat sophomore forward Abbey DeBruin made one of her two attempts with seven seconds on the clock to tie the game at 61-61.

FSU redshirt freshman guard Katie Mavis tossed up a potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired, but she was blocked by Gruber to force overtime.

NMU snuck out to leads of 64-62 and 66-64 in OT, but Ferris knotted the game back up each time and then was provided a 3-point cushion by Muntz following an NMU turnover.

“We’re competing and competing with the best teams in our league and I look out there and we’re all freshmen and sophomores,” Mattson said. “I have to not get to upset about what it going on with this team and know we’re going in the right direction.

“We’re really playing good basketball for how young we are.”

Similar to the home loss on Thursday to Grand Valley State, the Wildcats had more than their fair share of open looks underneath the rim, but came up empty. That allowed the Bulldogs to take a 12-point lead with 2:36 to play before halftime.

The ‘Cats launched a 6-0 run to close the first and cut the Bulldogs margin in half, trailing only 30-24 to start the second half.

An 11-0 run followed the break to give NMU a 35-30 lead with 17:00 to play, but Ferris caught back up with the ‘Cats at 40-40.

NMU fell behind by five with 6:35 to go, jumped back ahead by one with 4:36 remaining and wouldn’t relinquish the lead until Hess’ free throw with 24 seconds left on the BEC scoreboard.

“Three games in a row … Michigan Tech, this game and Grand Valley game, we got the ball where we wanted,” Mattson said. “We weren’t strong enough, tough enough to get the ball in the basket. We have to improve on that.

“We made some incredibly tough plays at the start at the second half.”

NMU sophomore guard Alyssa Colla led all scorers with 18 points while Gruber had 13.

For Ferris State, DeShone and Muntz each had 15 with Hess totaling 13 points.

Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mattwellens.