HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team closed the weekend with a 69-59 setback to Minnesota Duluth in the final non-conference game of the 2019-20 schedule Sunday afternoon at the SDC Gym. The Huskies rallied back to within striking distance in the second half, but the Bulldogs had established a foothold in the contest with a strong second quarter.
"Minnesota Duluth is a really good team that has strong post players and guards that are fast in transition," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "At the end of the second quarter, they really made a run on us and hit a half-court shot that gave them some momentum going into halftime. Overall, I liked the way our players battled back in the second half, but we have to figure out a way to get our offense going. It's nice we have a little break before we have another game in December. It gives us some time to work on things to get ready for Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition starting with Saginaw Valley State December 5."
Minnesota Duluth (3-3) got a quick bucket to begin Sunday's game when Payton Kahl immediately attacked the basket for a layup to make it 2-0 four seconds into the contest. Michigan Tech (2-5) answered a few seconds later when sophomore Ellie Mackay fired in a jump shot in the lane to tie the score at 2-2.
The Bulldogs produced the next four points on field goals by Brooke Olson and Maesyn Thiesen to go up 6-2 with 7:36 to play in the first. The Huskies came back to tie it at 10-10 on a Mackay jumper with 3:16 remaining in the first, but the Bulldogs cashed in four of the final six points in the period to carry a 14-12 lead into the second period.
Minnesota Duluth began to create some separation in the early stages of the second quarter by posting the first seven points of the frame. Kahl gave the Bulldogs a 21-12 lead on a layup with just over seven minutes to go in the half. Tech closed the gap to six points at 25-19 on a layup from senior Abbie Botz at the 3:32 mark, but by the time the quarter expired the Bulldogs held a 36-24 advantage at the intermission. Thiesen wrapped up the first half with two free throws and a half-court attempt that found the target as time expired.
The Bulldogs constructed their largest lead at the 7:15 mark of the third quarter when Thiesen made it a 44-26 score on another layup. The Huskies were able to keep the deficit from growing any larger and began to get back into contention as the third quarter progressed. Tech notched the final six points of the third quarter on a layup from freshman Alex Rondorf followed by a layup and two free throws courtesy of junior Cassidy Trotter. Trotter's free throws occurred with five seconds left in the third and reduced the Tech deficit to single digits at 53-44 with 10 minutes still to play.
Both offenses started slow in the fourth quarter, but the Huskies were the first to get on the board via a layup from freshman Sara Dax to pull Tech to within seven points at 53-46. Unfortunately, Katie Stark countered with a triple to bump Minnesota Duluth's lead back out to ten points at 56-46 with 5:30 to go in the game. The Huskies could get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Hobson paced the Huskies' attack with 15 points followed by Mackay with 13 points and three rebounds in Sunday's game. Trotter rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists while Botz chipped in eight points, had a team high eight rebounds, and distributed four assists.
The Huskies ended the afternoon making 23 of 62 shots from the field (37.1%), were 5 for 21 from three-point range (23.8%), and 8 for 8 at the free throw line (100.0%). Tech recorded 28 points in the paint and notched eight points off of 16 Minnesota Duluth turnovers.
Thiesen tossed in a team high 13 points and six assists for the Bulldogs with Sarah Grow adding 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Olson posted 11 points and nine rebounds with Taylor Schneider rounding out the double-digit point producers with 10 points. Stark had nine points and a game high 11 rebounds, which all occurred on the defensive end of the floor. Minnesota Duluth made 25 of 56 shots from the field (44.6%), found the mark on 4 of 17 three-point attempts (23.5%), and converted 15 of 23 chances at the free throw line (65.2%).
The Huskies are back in action Thursday December 5 when they host Saginaw Valley State in the GLIAC opener at the SDC Gym. The tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. eastern time.