Balanced scoring helps MTU Women defeat LSSU

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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mi. The Michigan Tech women's basketball team secured a key Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory 75-61 Saturday afternoon at Lake Superior State. The Huskies engineered a 25-13 second quarter to establish a foothold in the contest and set the tone for the final two periods.

"It was great to get off to a good start and it began on the defensive end of the floor," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "Our pressure and urgency on defense forced some turnovers and quick shots which led to points in transition. We were able to get a number of fast break points in the first half and it was nice to have some shots from the outside going in the basket. I think today's win will be a spark moving forward and bring us some confidence.

"Today's game was a must win for us as we battle for a spot in the playoffs. We have to treat every contest as a playoff game and keep the urgency that we had today. It's great to go back home with a win heading into big games next weekend against Davenport and Grand Valley State in the SDC Gym."

Michigan Tech (9-15, 7-10 GLIAC) struck first Saturday afternoon when sophomore Cassidy Trotter fired in what would be the first of 13 triples against Lake Superior State (7-17, 3-14 GLIAC). The Lakers countered when Mattison Rayman dropped in a jumper at the 7:59 mark to make it 3-2. Senior Abbie Botz answered with a pair of free throws, but the Lakers battled back with a 6-0 run to post an 8-5 advantage with 6:34 to play in the first quarter.

Lake Superior State continued to lead 11-8 with just under five minutes to go in the first quarter, but Tech would begin to turn the tide late in the period. Senior Ellie Welsh recorded points in the paint on a layup followed by back-to-back three-point baskets courtesy of sophomore Ellie Mackay. The second by Mackay created a 16-11 advantage for the Huskies with 3:52 on the clock. Mackenzie Kalchik drew the Lakers to within one point again at 16-15, but the Huskies collected the final points of the frame when freshman Katelyn Meister dialed in a trey with 1:16 remaining.

With just over four minutes gone by in the second quarter, Tech remained in front by five points at 29-24. Freshman Sara Dax then ignited a 9-0 scoring burst for the Huskies by finding the target from behind the arc. Trotter and Botz followed with layups before Mackay capped the run with a mid-range jumper to make it 38-24 at the 2:50 mark of the second quarter. Trotter and Welsh then connected from outside the arc in the final minute of the second to help give the Huskies a 44-28 lead at the intermission.

Tech continued to create more separation in the early moments of the third quarter and with 4:29 left, Dax cashed in a layup to grant the Huskies their largest advantage of the night at 54-32. The Lakers made a late push in the fourth quarter to slice their deficit to 13 points at 71-58 on an Abigail Ostman three-point bucket. However, consecutive layups from Botz stopped the momentum and helped the Huskies secure the 75-61 decision.

Mackay guided the Huskies with 17 points, thanks in part to five three-point baskets finding the mark on Saturday. Trotter and Botz each closed the contest with 13 points and senior Hannah Hobson rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points. Dax generated nine points and seven rebounds while Meister chipped in five points and reeled in seven boards. Welsh wrapped up the day with eight points, five rebounds, and four assists.

As a team, the Huskies found success on 29 of 60 shots from the field (48.3%), were 13 for 24 from three-point land (54.2%), and went 4 for 6 at the charity stripe (66.7%). Tech combined for 14 assists, produced 15 points off of 15 Laker turnovers, had 28 points in the paint, and 15 points off the fast break.

Ostman paced the Lakers with 16 points followed by Lexie Khon with 14 points and nine rebounds. Rayman added 11 points and hauled down eight rebounds to round out the double-digit scorers. Lake Superior State made good on 23 of 58 shots from the field (39.7), were 5 of 18 from behind the three-point arc (27.8%), and 10 for 12 at the free throw line (83.3%).

The Huskies return home for a GLIAC showdown with Davenport on Thursday night at the SDC Gym. The tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. eastern time.