FAIRBANKS, ALASKA – The Northwood University women's basketball team claimed the Mt. McKinley Bank North Star Invitational with a 90-78 victory over Alaska-Fairbanks Saturday evening (November 28).
The three-day, three-game event was hosted by Alaska-Fairbanks. Both Northwood and Alaska went 2-1 in the event, but Northwood takes the title thanks to the head-to-head victory.
Northwood is now 4-2 on the season. Alaska falls to 5-3 with the loss.
The Timberwolves got off to a good start on both ends of the floor in the opening quarter, allowing Northwood to open up an 11-point lead. NU shot 47.1 percent from the floor (8-17) while holding Alaska to 26.7 percent (4-15). That allowed Northwood to lead 21-10 after the opening quarter.
Northwood maintained a double-digit lead well into the second quarter, but Alaska finished the half strong to get back into the game. The Nanooks scored the final 11 points of the first half, holding Northwood scoreless over the final 3:26 to level the game 33-33 at the break. The two teams flipped their field goal percentages from the first quarter – NU ended up at 26.3 percent (5-19) while Alaska shot 50.0 percent (7-14).
After struggling in the second quarter, Northwood's offense caught fire in the third. The Timberwolves shot 90.0 percent in the frame (9-10) while going 3-3 from 3-point range. Alaska shot 35.3 percent in the third (6-17), allowing Northwood to out-score the Nanooks 30-16 in the quarter to open up NU's biggest lead of the game at 63-49.
Northwood appeared to be in full control with just under seven minutes to go, leading 70-54. But Alaska's full-court pressure got the Nanooks back into the game. Alaska went on a 15-2 run, cutting the lead down to 72-69. With the score 74-71, NU responded with a 7-0 run to get the lead back up to 10 at 81-71 with 1:10 remaining. The Nanoonks got no closer than eight the rest of the way. NU continued to shoot the ball well in the fourth quarter, going 5-10 from the floor (50.0 percent) and 2-3 from 3-point range (66.7 percent).
The Timberwolves 70.0 percent shooting in the second half (14-20) allowed NU to score 57 points after halftime and finish at 48.2 percent overall from the floor (27-56). The Nanooks finished at 38.7 percent (24-62). Northwood finished with a 41-36 edge in rebounding but committed four more turnovers than Alaska (19-15).
NU was led by guards Lauren Robak (Clarkston, Mich./Our Lady of the Lakes) and Maddy Seeley (Alma, Mich.), each of whom finished with 25 points. Robak went 6-11 from the floor, 3-5 from 3-point range and 10-11 from the foul line. Seeley scored 19 of her 25 in the second half thanks to going 6-6 from the floor and 2-2 from 3-point range after the break.
At the conclusion of the event, two Timberwolves were named to the All-Tournament team. Robak was named Most Valuable Player after averaging 20.0 points in the three games. Junior center Jordyn Nurenberg (St Johns, Mich.) also was named to the team after averaging 13.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
Northwood will open Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play Thursday night (December 3) against Wayne State. Game time is set for 6 p.m.