Grand Valley Women shut down Tech offense

By  | 

HOUGHTON, Mi. The Michigan Tech women's basketball team stumbled against 9th ranked Grand Valley State University Thursday night in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest 53-35 in the SDC Gym. The game featured two of the top defenses in the conference and as a result points were hard to come by.

"Grand Valley State is a great team and they did a phenomenal job flying around defensively and keeping us out of the paint," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "We struggled to execute against their defense today and we missed a few scoring opportunities that we did get. Defensively, I thought we did a pretty good job and to hold a team like Grand Valley State to 53 points isn't bad. Now, we just need our players to step up and make big plays for us offensively.

"We have to rest up and focus on our mental preparation for Saturday's game against Davenport. They have a solid post player who can score inside and guards who can shoot off the ball screen so we need to be ready for that. We have to get into a mindset that we are scorers, be aggressive, and play confident regardless of the situation."

Grand Valley State (16-1, 9-0 GLIAC) got on the board first about a minute into the action. Jenn Deboer connected on a mid-range jumper following an offensive rebound by Cassidy Boensch. Michigan Tech (10-7, 6-3 GLIAC) quickly countered when junior Ellie Welsh found an open spot on the floor and buried a triple to make it 3-2 with 8:49 on the first quarter clock.

The basket by Welsh sparked an 11-2 scoring run that opened up an 11-4 advantage for the Huskies with 5:46 to go in the first period. Freshman Ellie Mackay followed with a mid-range jumper and then junior Abbie Botz sank a triple to make it 8-2. Senior Elizabeth Kelliher capped it with a three-point bucket of her own, giving Tech the early upper hand.

Unfortunately, the offense went cold and the Lakers were able make up some ground before the first quarter expired. Boensch sank to two free throws for Grand Valley State near the two-minute juncture of the first to cut the gap to 11-10. Neither offense would post any further points before the first quarter buzzer sounded.

The scoring drought for Tech continued into the second, enabling the Lakers to move in front. Boensch connected on a jumper four seconds into the second quarter to make it a 12-11 score in favor of the Lakers. With 3:28 to play until the intermission, Jenn Deboer boosted Grand Valley State's lead to 25-11.

The Huskies were then able to break through for their first points of the second quarter when Welsh found the target from behind the arc with 2:34 to play in the half. Tech was able to stay within striking distance thanks to four consecutive points in the final minute. Kelliher dropped in a layup and then sophomore Cassidy Trotter cashed in two free throws with four seconds on the clock to make it a 29-20 ballgame at the break.

Points were limited in the third period for both sides, but the Huskies were able to capitalize offensively midway through the third to cut the deficit to six points at 32-26. Kelliher tacked on another layup and then a steal and fast break basket by Trotter created the quick 4-0 scoring burst with 4:28 remaining in the third.

However, the Lakers quickly expanded the gap back to double digits at 38-28 on the strength of six consecutive points to finish the quarter. The Huskies kept battling though and drew to within eight points again at 43-35 on a Trotter layup with 4:53 left in the fourth. Unfortunately, that's as close as they would get. The Lakers would go on to record the final 10 points to finish out the game.

Mackay led the Huskies' offense with nine points followed by Kelliher and Trotter with eight points apiece Thursday night. Botz chipped in five points and hauled down a team high 11 rebounds. Kelliher picked up three blocked shots and Trotter aided the defense with three steals. As a team, the Huskies made 14 of 52 shots from the field (26.9%), were 4 for 16 from three-point range (25.0%), and 3 for 4 at the free throw line (75.0%).

DeBoer had a game high 27 points followed by Boensch with 12 points and 21 rebounds for Grand Valley State. Boensch also had four blocks and five steals while Maddie Dailey chipped in 11 points and just missed a double-double with eight rebounds. The Lakers converted 17 of 52 shots from the field (32.7%), were 3 for 18 from behind the arc (16.7%), and 16 of 17 at the charity stripe (94.1%).

The Huskies will look to bounce back on Saturday when they host Davenport University for another GLIAC contest at the SDC Gym. The tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. eastern time.