NMU women’s hoops: Wildcats rout Madonna to open regular season

MARQUETTE – In its first home game of the season, the Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team shut down Madonna University 98-68 on Sunday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.

“I thought we did a great job of passing the ball,” head coach Troy Mattson said. “The ball really moved to the right people at the right times.”

The Wildcats took off to a commanding start, leading by as many as 27 points in the first half. Junior Alyssa Colla, junior Abbey DeBruin and senior Annie Rubendunst each had eight points in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, the Wildcats not only maintained their lead, but extended it into the 30s to finish off the Crusaders for their first win of the season.

Five Wildcats had double digit points on the day. Colla scored a team-high 13, followed by Rubendunst with 12 and sophomore Katelyn Husband with 11. DeBruin and sophomore Anna Liewen each finished with 10.

Mattson said he was pleased with the amount of players who had a chance to get playing time. All members of the Wildcats’ active roster recorded at least five minutes in the game.

“Everybody produced a little bit, all the way down to our last couple of people,” Mattson said. “Even they made some plays when they came in, so I was excited to see that.”

Each of the team’s starters is a returning player and has at least one remaining year of NCAA eligibility after this season.

Mattson said he’s been waiting a couple years for his top players to build experience and expressed how beneficial it is to have so many returning players on the roster.

“They’ve played in so many big games and have seen everything people can throw at them,” Mattson said.

“It’s always great to have people coming back.”

As for newcomers, freshman Bre Gaspervich made a statement with nine points in her first collegiate home game. Mattson said he expects the 5-foot-5 guard to be a big offensive asset at NMU.

“She’s just a mighty mouse out there,” Mattson said. “This level hasn’t seemed to phase her for one minute. I think she just looks forward to playing basketball every single day.”

Mattson said Gaspervich has a great understanding of how to play her position, get her teammates the basketball and make shots.

Going into Saturday’s home contest against Finlandia at 5:30 p.m. at the BEC, Mattson said the Wildcats will need to focus on their defense and rebounding on the defensive end.

“I think we lacked in those areas today and we need to strive at getting better in those two areas,” Mattson said.