HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team overcame a slow start and pulled away for a 62-52 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win Thursday night against Lake Superior State in the SDC Gym. The Huskies faced a 13-5 deficit after the first quarter, but outscored the Lakers 22-10 in the second quarter to take the lead at the half, which set the foundation for a key victory.
"It was great to see how our players responded to the slow start with an outstanding second quarter," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "It was huge for us to go into halftime with the lead and some momentum. Credit goes to Lake Superior State because they came ready to play and had great energy. Tonight's game came down to defense and I thought both teams defended really hard. Our pressure bothered them and we forced 19 turnovers that led to 23 points for us, which made the difference in the game.
"Ferris State is a great team and hopefully our players can come in and understand that we are going to have to play really well to beat them. They have some solid players both on the perimeter and in the post so we'll have to be ready to defend everywhere on the floor. Night in and night out in the GLIAC it's going to be a battle and that will certainly be the case again on Saturday."
Lake Superior State (6-9, 2-6 GLIAC) opened up Thursday's game with the first five points of the night on a layup from Lexie Khon followed by a triple out of the hand of Claire Radtke. Michigan Tech (7-8, 5-3 GLIAC) countered with the next five points to knot the score at 5-5 with 6:14 to play in the first quarter. Junior Cassidy Trotter converted a conventional three-point play followed by a layup from junior Baillie McGirk who was back in the lineup for the Huskies.
Tech's offense then went cold for the remainder of the quarter and the Lakers' offense proceeded to post the next eight points to go up 13-5 with 10 minutes in the books. Radtke capped the run with a jumper at the 1:28 mark of the first frame. The Huskies got the spark they needed offensively at the beginning of the second quarter when senior Ellie Welsh and Trotter filled up back-to-back three-point buckets to close the gap to 13-11.
Trailing 16-14 with just over seven minutes to go in the second, senior Abbie Botz produced a key three-point field goal to push Tech in front 17-16. It was also the match that ignited a 10-0 scoring run that culminated on a McGirk layup to make it 24-16 with 4:18 to play in the second period. The Lakers were able to close the gap down to four points at 27-23 with a minute left in the half on a Khon jumper, but the strong second quarter gave the Huskies a crucial advantage going into the locker room at halftime.
Lake Superior State tied the game 27-27 with the first four points of the third quarter and then the two teams traded field goals over the next two possessions. Trotter gave the Huskies a 34-29 lead on a pair of layups and then Welsh reestablished a seven-point edge at 36-29 for Tech thanks to a layup of her own with 7:07 remaining in the third.
The Lakers were able to slice the gap down to 36-32 with 5:29 on the third quarter clock, but the Huskies outscored Lake Superior State 10-1 over the next five minutes to build their largest lead of the game at 46-33 with less than a minute to play in the third. Mackay did the honors with two free throws and Tech eventually owned a 46-35 advantage going into the fourth period. The Lakers could get no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Trotter paced the Huskies with 20 points while adding six steals, four assists, and four rebounds to the stat sheet in Thursday's win. Botz tossed in 14 points and matched a career high with 17 rebounds. It's the third time she has been able to accomplish that feat during her career at Tech. McGirk chipped in nine points off the bench and had a pair of blocked shots.
The Huskies converted on 21 of 58 shots from the field (36.2%), were 6 of 18 from behind the arc (33.3%), and 14 for 18 at the free throw line (77.8%). Tech combined for 12 assists and committed only nine turnovers compared to the Lakers who were forced into 19 miscues. The Huskies took advantage and turned them into 23 points on the offensive end of the floor.
Abigail Ostman guided the Lakers with 18 points followed by Khon with 12 points in Thursday's game. Mattison Rayman ended the evening with six points and a team high 10 rebounds. Lake Superior State made 18 of 50 shots from the field (36.0%), were 7 for 18 from three-point range (38.9%), and 9 of 15 at the charity stripe (60.0%). The Lakers had a slight edge in rebounding 38-37.
The Huskies are back on the court Saturday afternoon when they host Ferris State in another GLIAC showdown at the SDC Gym. The Bulldogs edged Northern Michigan 66-60 in Marquette Thursday evening. Saturday's tip-off is slated for 1:00 p.m. eastern time.