Lewis pulls away slightly to defeat MTU Women

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HOUGHTON, Mi. The Michigan Tech women's basketball team fell to No. 20 Lewis University Saturday afternoon in a non-conference contest 65-51 in the SDC Gym. The Huskies battled back from a slow start to tie the game 42-42 late in the third quarter, but the Flyers regrouped quickly and pulled away with an 18-7 scoring advantage in the fourth frame.

"It was a tough loss against a very good team today," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "I'm really proud of the way our girls competed. Every time Lewis made a run we were able to counter with one of our own by getting some big stops defensively. I thought our defensive execution in this game was one of the best that we've had this year, so I was really proud of that. We need to do a better job of hitting shots and finishing on the offensive end of the floor.

"We have a pretty quick turnaround Wednesday as we head to Minnesota Duluth, who is a similar team to Lewis. They have a good post player and some super athletic guards that can shoot. They are a very balanced team so it will be another good challenge. It will be good to see how we can grow and apply the things that we learned from our game today against Lewis in Wednesday's game."

Lewis (7-1) jumped out of the gate Saturday afternoon with a quick 7-0 run to establish a foothold and the lead. Kaitlyn Williams sank a three-point bucket with just under seven minutes to go in the first quarter to cap the run. Michigan Tech (6-5) got on the board at the 6:26 mark of first when junior Ellie Welsh found the bottom of the net from long distance to cut the deficit for the Huskies to 7-3.

The Huskies then drew to within three at 9-6 on another triple by Welsh with just over five minutes to go in the first. Tech stayed within four to five points for the majority of the final minutes in the first, but Morgan Glatczak connected on a jumper right before the buzzer to make it a 15-9 contest going into the second period.

Stephanie Hart boosted the Flyers advantage to 18-9 just over a minute into the second quarter on another three-point bucket and then at the 5:51 junctureHart put Lewis up 23-11 on a layup. The Huskies were able to close the gap to six points at 26-20 on a layup courtesy of freshman Sloane Zenner with 2:57 on the clock, but Lewis would eventually carry a 33-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

After trailing by double digits through the first four minutes of the third period, the Huskies found a rhythm on offense and defense to get themselves right back into the game. Sophomore Cassidy Trotter drilled a triple to get the run going after the possession was kept alive on a pair of offensive rebounds. Trotter then drove to the basket for a layup and with a free throw following a foul. The conventional three-point play made it a 40-3 score with 5:32 to go in the third.

Following two Lewis free throws, Welsh connected on a trey from downtown and then she sliced the deficit to 42-38 at the charity stripe with 4:22 remaining in the third. As the defense continued to come up with stops, Trotter and freshman Ellie Mackay teamed up with layups on the offensive end of the floor to knot the score at 42-42 with less than a minute to play in the third.

Tech and Lewis traded baskets on the ensuing possessions, but the Flyers would end up getting the last look at the basket before the buzzer sounded. Rachel Hinders sent some of the momentum back to Lewis with a triple to close the period and give the Flyers a 47-44 edge. Lewis then knocked down the first two attempts of the fourth quarter to push the lead out to 51-44. Junior Hannah Hobson briefly made it a four-point game again at 51-47 thanks to a triple, but the Flyers reeled off a 13-0 run over the next six minutes to put the game out of reach.

Welsh matched a season and career high with 15 points to power the Huskies' offense on Saturday afternoon. Welsh was 5 for 5 from the field and a perfect 4 for 4 from three-point land. Trotter followed with 12 points, three assists, and five steals while junior Abbie Botz chipped in four points and grabbed a team high nine rebounds.

As a team, the Huskies connected on 20 of 56 shots from the field (35.7%), were 7 of 19 from behind the arc (36.8%), and 4 of 5 on opportunities at the free throw line (80.0%). The Huskies created 18 points off of 14 Lewis turnovers in the contest.

Jessica Kelliher guided the Flyers' attack with 23 points followed by Gabby Green with 13 points and Tierney Lockett with 12 points. Kelliher hauled down a team high eight rebounds and blocked two shots. Green came up with four steals and dished out four assists. Lewis out-rebounded the Huskies 40-31 and scored 30 of their points in the paint.

The Huskies will look to bounce back on Wednesday when they head to Minnesota Duluth for a non-conference contest prior to the Holiday Break. The tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. eastern time.