HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team fell to Concordia-St. Paul Friday night 65-59 in the 2019-20 home opener. The Huskies built a solid first quarter lead of 18-10, but the Golden Bears ended up with the upper hand in each of the final three frames to come away with the win.
"I thought we defended like we needed to especially in the first half," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "Unfortunately, we gave up too many layups in the second half and they were able to get a number of high percentage shots. Offensively, we weren't able to get as many good shots as we needed to and looked a little stagnant at times. We'll work to correct that on Sunday and focus on getting more high percentage shots and points in the paint. Ellie Mackay hit some big shots and Cassidy Trotter created some things for us tonight as well, but we need to fine tune our execution.
"Minnesota Duluth is a very good team and they are playing well this season. It will be another big challenge for us as we are competing against some really good teams. We have to do the little things well and get some stops on the defensive end of the floor to give ourselves an opportunity to post a victory Sunday."
Concordia-St. Paul (2-4) struck for the first point Friday night when Ayla Lemke advanced to the free throw line following a Michigan Tech (2-4) foul. However, it didn't take the Huskies long to respond thanks to an 8-0 scoring burst over the next two minutes. Senior Abbie Botz dropped in the first two points of the game for Tech with a jumper in the paint with just over nine minutes to play in the first quarter. Junior Cassidy Trotter followed with the next five points on a pair of layups and a free throw before sophomore Ellie Mackay capped the run with a free throw to make it 8-1 at the 7:16 mark.
The Golden Bears sliced the gap to three points at 13-10 on a Sydney Schultz layup with 2:11 on the clock before the Huskies finished off the quarter with the final five points. Mackay answered the bucket by Schultz with a layup of her own and then with 35 seconds to go in the quarter, she buried a triple to give Tech an 18-10 advantage with 10 minutes in the books.
The Huskies enjoyed their largest lead of the evening with 8:17 remaining in the first half, courtesy of a layup from freshman Sara Dax to make it a 22-13 score. However, the Golden Bears would slowly chip away at the lead and eventually tie the score at 26-26 right before the intermission. Jadyn Hanson closed out a 6-0 run for Concordia-St. Paul on a layup to provide the final two points of the half.
The two teams traded baskets at the outset of the third quarter before the Golden Bears strung some points together later in the period to build a 38-33 lead, culminating on a Cassidy Byrd triple with 3:10 to play in the quarter. Concordia-St. Paul maintained the edge 42-38 going into the fourth before the Huskies rallied to go ahead again 44-43 in the early stages of the final frame. Trotter put Tech back on top with a layup at the 8:19 mark and then with 6:46 left in the contest senior Ellie Welsh sank a layup of her own to make it a 49-45 score.
Unfortunately, the Huskies weren't able to hold off the Golden Bears who put together a 14-3 run over the next five minutes. Meghan DuBois finished off the run with a layup with 1:02 showing on the fourth quarter clock to grant Concordia-St. Paul a 59-52 advantage. The Golden Bears proceeded to cash in on some key shots and free throws in the final 60 seconds to preserve their win.
Mackay connected on 6 of 12 shots from the field on her way to a game high 17 points for the Huskies. Trotter followed with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals while senior Hannah Hobson rounded out the double-digit scorers with a season high 11 points and a blocked shot. Botz wrapped up the night with five points and a team high seven rebounds.
As a team, the Huskies made 24 of 60 shots from the field (40.0%), were 6 for 17 from three-point range (35.3%), and 5 for 7 at the free throw line (71.4%). Tech's defense forced 16 Concordia-St. Paul turnovers which led to 21 points on the offensive end of the floor. The Huskies ended the evening with 34 points in the paint.
DuBois had 13 points for the Golden Bears followed by a trio of players with 11 points each. Schultz had 11 points, and 12 rebounds off the bench, Wentland had 11 points, eight boards, and four blocked shots, and Byrd chipped in 11 points in just 12 minutes on the court. The Golden Bears made 22 of 56 shot attempts from the field (39.3%), were 6 of 19 from long distance (31.6%), and 15 for 21 at the free throw line (71.4%). Concordia-St. Paul had the edge in rebounding Friday night 42-32.
The Huskies will look to bounce back on Sunday afternoon when they host the University of Minnesota Duluth in the SDC Gym. The tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern time.