Northland Pines graduate Lexi Smith has had another standout season with the Northern Michigan University (NMU) Wildcats in Marquette. —Photos Courtesy Of NMU Athletics
Northland Pines graduate Lexi Smith has had another standout season with the Northern Michigan University (NMU) Wildcats in Marquette. —Photos Courtesy Of NMU Athletics
Northland Pines graduate and current Northern Michigan University (NMU) sophomore Lexi Smith is nearing the end of her second full season as a member of the Wildcats women’s basketball team in Marquette, Mich.

Though Smith is currently sidelined due to concussion protocol, she was again a large part of the Lady Wildcats success this season as they recently finished as runner-up in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) after falling to No. 6 nationally ranked Ashland College, 65-57.

NMU defeated three ranked teams during the season on their way to a 22-9 record.

In the season opener, the Wildcats defeated Lewis University, who entered the season ranked. They then gave Grand Valley State University their only GLIAC loss of the season, defeating the Lakers 56-43 in January, Grand Valley again last Saturday.

Twice this season Smith was honored by the conference as Women’s Basketball North Player of the Week.

In early January Smith received the honor after leading the Wildcats with 15.5 points in two games. At the time, Smith was the first NMU player to achieve the honor since Jan. 27, 2015.

Playing Wayne State, the sophomore finished 5-of-9 from the field to finish with 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds along with dishing out two assists. She followed it with a team-high 19 points against Ashland notching five rebounds and two more assists.

She doubled-down just two weeks later as she was again named Player of the Week as she scored 21 points in a 56-43 victory over then No. 9-ranked Grand Valley.

She followed it up that week by scoring 16 points and tying her career-high with nine rebounds to help NMU defeat Davenport University 69-61.

For the week, Smith averaged 18.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. She also added five assists and two steals for the week.

After being named the league’s Freshman of the Year last season, Smith followed it up this year by being named to the All-GLIAC First Team after finishing the regular season averaging 10.2 points per game adding 1.7 assists and 0.7 steals.

As a team the 22 wins compiled by Smith and the Lady Wildcats are tied for the most of the Troy Mattson coaching era.

It was enough to earn the NMC a spot in Saturday’s opening round of the NCAA National Tournament. It is the first appearance for the team since being selected during the 2013-14 season when the team entered as the No. 4 seed and took on Quincy University.

It will be the 14th appearance in school history. 

The NCAA Midwest Region First Round will take place Friday with the winners advancing. The two teams remaining will then play for the regional championship with the winner advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight played in Columbus, Ohio, on March 26. 

For more information on Smith and the Lady Wildcats, visit nmuwildcats.com.