HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team collected win number five in a row with an impressive 70-40 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win over Northwood Thursday night in the SDC Gym. The Huskies went on a 15-1 run to close the first quarter and never looked back, holding an opponent to less than 50 points for the third game in a row.
"For us to be able to make a big run and get the momentum early in the game was huge," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "We've always taken pride in playing great defense at Tech, but as of late the urgency that our girls bring in games and practice on the defensive end has been raised to a new level. Our defense came up big again for us tonight and allowed us to make the run a create some separation. I believe we are playing our best basketball of the season thus far and we still have some things to work on, but we'll continue to try and make improvements each week. We are taking the right steps and in a good place right now."
Northwood (10-12, 7-7 GLIAC) jumped out to a 5-0 lead early, but it would be the only deficit Michigan Tech (15-7, 11-3 GLIAC) would face in the contest. Grace German and Kenzie Seeley accounted for the Timberwolves scoring before the Huskies turned the tide in their direction. Senior Elizabeth Kelliher got Tech rolling with a layup followed by a triple from junior Hannah Hobson to even the score at 5-5.
The Huskies kept powering forward when freshman Ellie Mackay dropped in a layup with 5:03 on the clock and drew contact in the process, leading to a conventional three-point play opportunity. The free throw was good to make it an 8-5 score and Tech would then go on to close out the quarter with seven more points.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves would add just one more point to their total before the first quarter horn sounded. Junior Abbie Botz, freshman Ellie Mackay, and Kelliher combined to produce the points for the Huskies on the way to a 15-6 lead with 10 minutes in the books.
Tech added three more points to lead on a conventional three-point play by Botz at the 7:11 mark of the second period. Botz drove into the paint to for a layup and got the free to go to make it an 18-6 score. The Timberwolves were finally able to break their scoring drought on a triple by Seeley to cut Tech's lead down to single digits at 18-9.
Northwood would close the gap to seven points at 26-19 on another trey from Adrianna Stolicker as the clock ticked down to just below two minutes to play in the half. However, the Huskies would close out the half with five consecutive points to keep Northwood from finding a rhythm. Freshman Sloane Zenner connected from downtown at the 1:10 mark and then with four seconds remaining in the half, Mackay converted twice at the charity stripe to give the Huskies a 31-19 advantage at the intermission.
The Huskies, behind a strong defense and a solid offense, took command of the game in the third period by outpacing Northwood 19-6 during that 10-minute span. Tech eventually created the largest lead of the game of 33 points at 60-27 with 7:08 remaining in the fourth. Zenner dropped in a layup following an offensive rebound by Botz. The Timberwolves could get no closer than 26 points the rest of the way.
The Huskies were powered by Botz who found the target on 7 of 10 shots from the floor on the way to a game high 17 points. She also contributed seven rebounds, had an assist, and one blocked shot. Hobson followed with 15 points and paced the Huskies in assists with five. Mackay rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points while securing her first career double-double on the strength of 10 rebounds.
As a team, the Huskies connected on 26 of 52 shots from the field (50.0%), were 10 for 19 from long distance (52.6%), and 8 for 10 at the free throw line (80.0%). Tech out-rebounded Northwood 36-29, produced 18 points off of 16 Timberwolves turnovers, and the reserves out-scored the Northwood bench 30-8.
Grace German guided Northwood with 13 points followed by Seeley and Stolicker with eight points each. German ended the night with a double-double thanks to a game high 12 rebounds. The Huskies' defense limited Northwood's offense to an 11 for 44 performance from the field (25.0%). The Timberwolves found the mark on 4 of 16 attempts from three-point land (25.0%) and converted 14 of 18 chances at the free throw line (77.8%).
The Huskies, who by virtue of Thursday's win clinched a GLIAC playoff spot, will host conference Saginaw Valley State Saturday afternoon at the SDC Gym. The Cardinals fell at Northern Michigan Thursday night 56-38. Saturday's tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. eastern time.