HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team regrouped Saturday with 79-54 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Purdue Northwest in the SDC Gym. The Huskies set the tone early with a dominating first quarter and then held off a second half charge by the Pride to preserve the win.
"We met with the players after Thursday's game and talked with them about their mentality, being aggressive, playing confidently, believing in themselves, and believing in each other," Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "I think that made a big difference in how we played today compared to the Parkside game. Getting a win going into these next two non-conference games was monumental for a lot of reasons.
"We have two really tough teams coming up with Lewis and Minnesota Duluth before the break, so it's really nice to go in to those after a victory. We still have some things to learn from this game and we'll continue to get better, but I'm proud of the effort from our players today and their ability to bounce back."
Michigan Tech (6-4, 3-1 GLIAC) went to work quickly on the offensive end of the floor following a successful opening tip-off. Junior Abbie Botz found junior Ellie Welsh on the perimeter for a triple to give the Huskies a 3-0 lead. Purdue Northwest (2-7, 0-4 GLIAC) countered with the next two baskets on a jumper from Shae Rhonehouse and a layup by Danielle Nennig. The points created what would be the Pride's only lead of the afternoon at 4-3 with 6:29 to go in the first quarter.
Freshman Ellie Mackay dialed in a triple about 30 seconds later to retake the lead for the Huskies. Nennig knotted the contest up at 6-6 on a pair of free throws with 4:448 left in the quarter, but Tech would latch hold of the momentum in the final minutes of the first to take control of the game. Freshman Sloane Zenner provided a big spark off the bench, sending home back to back treys to move the Huskies in front for good at 12-6 with 3:05 on the clock. Zenner then beat the buzzer on another three-point basket to end the first, granting Tech a nine-point cushion at 19-10 going into the second period.
The Huskies' offense continued to fire on all cylinders at the outset of the second as they put some more distance between themselves and the Pride. Botz, Mackay, and sophomore Cassidy Trotter combined for nine points in the first 2:30 minutes to build a 28-10 lead. The Tech defense yielded just one free throw in the first six minutes of the second quarter, allowing the offense ample opportunity to keep pouring on the points.
Welsh found the range from behind the arc again with just over four minutes to play until the break, making it a 40-11 score in favor of the Huskies. Purdue Northwest was able to make up some ground though before the intermission, reeling off a 14-0 run to wrap up the quarter. Tayler Vauters came up with a steal and raced to the other end of the floor for a layup with one second to go, resulting in a 40-25 advantage for the Huskies.
With 6:45 to play in the third period, Tech bumped the lead back up to 20 points at 51-31 on a three-point basket by junior Hannah Hobson. It was one of 12 total triples for the Huskies in Saturday's victory. Tech maintained a double digit lead for the rest of the afternoon, although the Pride managed to sneak back to within 11 points once and 12 points twice in the last two quarters. However, the Huskies had an answer each time to keep Purdue Northwest at arm's length. Tech left nothing to chance late in the fourth, posting the final nine points of the day to seal up the victory.
Trotter powered the Huskies Saturday afternoon with a career high 17 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Defensively, she produced a pair of steals and blocked a single game career best three shots. Mackay followed with 16 points while Zenner chipped in a season and career high 12 points in addition to six rebounds, three steals, and three blocks in the contest. Eight total players contributed points for the Huskies in the win.
In terms of team stats, the Huskies were successful on 29 of 60 shots from the field (48.3%), found the target on 12 of 29 chances from behind the arc (41.4%), and converted 9 of 12 opportunities at the charity stripe (75.0%). Tech out-rebounded Purdue Northwest 43-37, scored 28 points in the paint, and turned 19 Pride turnovers into 20 points on the offensive end of the floor.
Bayley Goodman had 17 points for the Pride followed by Lanie Allen with 12 points Saturday afternoon. Allen also delivered eight rebounds and had five steals to lead Purdue Northwest in each of those categories. The Pride connected on just 17 of 61 attempts from the field (27.9%), were 5 for 20 from three-point range (25.0%), and 15 of 23 at the free throw line (65.2%).
The Huskies are back in action Saturday when they host Lewis University in a non-conference contest at the SDC Gym. The tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. eastern time.