HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team controlled Sunday's rivalry game with Northern Michigan from start to finish on the way to a 68-28 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory. It's the fewest points allowed in the history of the all-time series between the Huskies and the Wildcats which dates back to 1976. Tech surrendered only 37 points to Northern Michigan in a 72-37 win at home on February 23, 2017.
"I thought we came into the game today with a great understanding of how we wanted to defend, which took away the things they wanted to do," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "We limited their points in the paint which was huge and I thought Abbie Botz and Hannah Hobson did a great job taking their post players out of their game. I wanted us to be the more physical and tougher team today and I thought we were able to do that. One of our offensive keys was to score points in the paint and we were able to execute our game plan to get some high percentage shots.
"Getting back to back double digit wins in conference contests moving into the Christmas break is huge for our confidence. We knew what we were capable of coming into the season and after a slow start, I think it was really important that we were able to execute like we did in these games."
Michigan Tech (4-6, 2-1 GLIAC) never trailed in Sunday's game and there would only be one tie throughout the course of the afternoon. Junior Cassidy Trotter, who ended the game with a career high 23 points, put the Huskies on the board with a mid-range jumper at the 8:14 mark of the first quarter. Northern Michigan (5-6, 2-1 GLIAC) created the tie at 2-2 on an Elena Alaix jumper with 7:33 to go in the first period.
Trotter quickly put Tech back in front with a layup followed by points in the paint from senior Abbie Botz to make it a 6-2 score with just over five minutes remaining in the first. The first quarter was characterized by solid defensive play from both sides, but tech emerged with a 12-7 edge going into quarter number two.
The two sides continued to struggle a bit to put points on the board in the second quarter as well, with only a combined 13 points between Tech and Northern Michigan. Botz, senior Hannah Hobson, and freshman Sara Dax fired in the first three buckets of the period to make it an 18-7 Tech advantage with 7:14 left on the clock. The Huskies would only record two more points the rest of the quarter, but held the Wildcats in check at five points to carry a 20-12 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Huskies changed the complexion of the game with a dominating third quarter, out running the Wildcats 22-2 over the 10-minute span. Tech piled up the first 11-points of the second half, culminating on a Botz layup to make it 31-12 with 6:41 on the clock. Jessica Schultz posted the only basket in the third for the Wildcats with 6:10 to go. The Huskies closed the third quarter with another 11-0 scoring burst and never looked back. Senior Michelle LaFave tossed in the final bucket of the quarter to give Tech a 42-14 lead. The Huskies then proceeded to outpace the Wildcats in the fourth quarter 26-14, resulting in the 68-28 final score.
Trotter connected on 7 of 10 shots from the field, went 3 for 5 from behind the arc, and 6 for 6 at the free throw line to power the Huskies' offense on Sunday with 23 points. She also blocked two shots, had seven steals, four assists, and four rebounds. Botz had a solid afternoon as well, recording a double-double thanks to 13 points and 13 rebounds in the victory. She also shared the team lead in assists with Hobson and Trotter. Hobson along with sophomore Ellie Mackay and freshman Katelyn Meister chipped in six points each.
Tech found success on 25 of 51 shots from the field (49.0%), hit the target on 7 of 16 attempts from three-point range (43.8%), and converted 11 of 12 opportunities at the free throw line (91.7%). Tech out-rebounded Northern Michigan 41-26 and scored 28 points in the paint while forcing 21 turnovers which led to 24 points on offense.
Emily Mueller had a team high six points for the Wildcats followed by Schultz with five points and eight rebounds. Northern Michigan made only 11 of 51 field goal attempts (21.6%), were 4 for 28 from long distance (14.3%), and 2 of 3 at the free throw line (66.7%).
The Huskies will be back on the court January 2 when they host Wayne State in the SDC Gym at 5:30 p.m. eastern time.