MILWAUKEE -- Maranatha trailed for most of the game but came through in the clutch with 26 fourth-quarter points to top Northland by five.
Kelsey Johnson led MBU with 23 points (matching her career-high mark) and the Sabercats stayed cool at the line to seal the win.
- Result: Maranatha 63-58 Northland
- Venue: Bloechl Center, Mount Mary University
- Location: Milwaukee
- Attendance: 50
- Records: MBU (1-1), NC (2-2)
The Sabercats started with an up-tempo offense that put the Jills on the back foot. A three-pointer from Kelsey Johnson pushed the Sabercats out to a commanding 11-2 lead, and MBU stayed in front as the first quarter wore on. MBU was a step ahead of NC throughout the opening 10 minutes, and a final bucket from Ashley Nerat inside the final 20 seconds of the first quarter gave MBU a 16-10 lead after the first act.
Northland regrouped and zipped the ball around to start the second quarter, starting with eight unanswered points to get right back into the game. It was all going Northland's way in the second quarter, as the Sabercats struggled to solve the Jills' tight coverage. After 10 minutes of seeing the momentum favor the other way, the Sabercats went into the halftime break facing a deficit of 28-33.
Northland began to pull away in the third quarter, gradually building on the lead. But the Sabercats began to fight their way back in the fourth quarter when Maisy Alldredge scored eight points to make it a one-possession game (47-50) - the closest the Sabercats had been since the early stages of the second act.
MBU showed determination to stay within one possession of the hard-working Jills, and the game set itself up for an intense finish. A couple of big stops from MBU and two free throws from Karley Johnson finally gave MBU a 59-58 lead with 1:08 left. It was their first lead in over 25 minutes of play.
The Sabercats soon closed it out.
Northland ran into some foul trouble late in the game, and the Sabercats took full advantage, knocking down four free throws in the last minute to cement the comeback win on the Mount Mary University campus.
MBU Starters: 3-Morrison, 10-Nerat, 12-Johnson, 13-Johnson, 32-Alldredge // NC Starters: 2-Avalos, 3-Howe, 10-Wagner, 20-Taylor, 40-Houle
- Kelsey: 23 points, 9 rebounds
- Callie Morrison: 16 points
- Alldredge: 13 points
- Rebounding: MBU 37-40 NC
- Fouls: MBU 14-25 NC
- Last meeting: Maranatha beat Northland in 2014, 43-40
- Series: Maranatha now holds the lead, 3-0
- The Jills compete in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference
- NC finished last season with a record of 3-22
- Northland has had exhibition games against St. Cloud State (NCAA DII) and Bemidji State (NCAA DII)
The Sabercats will host NCCAA North Region opponents, North Central University, on Monday for a 5:00 p.m. tip. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.