ALLENDALE, Mi. The Michigan Tech women's basketball team fell in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference clash at No. 3 Grand Valley State University 70-44 Thursday night. The Huskies went toe-to-toe defensively with the Lakers in the first quarter, but strong second and third periods by Grand Valley State proved to be the difference. Tech kept battling throughout the fourth quarter and will look to carry some of those positives into Saturday's game at Davenport.
"There is a reason why Grand Valley State is one of the top teams in the nation," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "They defended like we knew they were capable of and I think they got to us on that end of the floor. We didn't get a whole lot of easy looks in the paint and we turned it over a little too much. A high point tonight is that we outscored them in the fourth quarter and I thought our players off the bench played well. It was good to see our freshmen come into the game and be effective against their starters in the fourth quarter. The played aggressive and defended really well and we kept fighting until the end.
"We'll put this one behind us and move on to prepare for Davenport Saturday. It's not going to be an easy game. They are a much-improved team and their record is not indicative of how good they are. They have an unbelievable post player and some very athletic guards as well so we'll have to refocus and compete at a high level in order to bounce back on Saturday."
Grand Valley State (17-1, 9-1 GLIAC) recorded the first five points Thursday evening when Jenn DeBoer and Maddie Dailey teamed up for a two-point jumper and triple to make it a 5-0 score at the 8:27 mark. Michigan Tech (7-10, 5-5 GLIAC) answered a couple minutes later with a quick 5-0 scoring burst of their own. Junior Cassidy Trotter dashed to the rim for a layup followed by a three-point basket from sophomore Ellie Mackay with 5:14 on first quarter clock.
The Huskies' defense kept the Lakers off balance for the majority of the period and the lead never grew past two possessions. Cassidy Boensch and Dailey pushed Grand Valley State back in front 9-5 with 2:23 to play in the quarter before senior Hannah Hobson found the bottom of the net with a mid-range jumper to slice the gap to 9-7 with just under two minutes left in the first. Haley Swing and DeBoer cashed in the final four points of the frame, giving the Lakers a 13-7 edge with 10 minutes in the books.
Senior Abbie Botz closed the gap to four points at 16-12 for the Huskies in the opening minute of the second quarter when she secured an offensive rebound followed by a putback layup. Unfortunately, Grand Valley State's offense began to find a rhythm and reeled off the next six points to go up 22-12 with 7:55 remaining until the intermission. Freshman Sara Dax brought it back to single digits at 22-14 on a layup off an assist from senior Michelle LaFave, but the Lakers made good on the next two field goals to reestablish a double-digit lead with just over six minutes to play in the half.
The Lakers stretched their lead to 35-18 at the intermission and then outscored Tech 19-4 in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The Huskies kept competing and ended up with a 22-16 edge in fourth quarter scoring. Freshmen Kylie Mogen and Katelyn Meister highlighted the final 10 minutes with six and five points respectively.
Mackay paced the Huskies with seven points followed by Hobson and Mogen who each tossed in six points. Mogen and LaFave both had two assists while Dax hauled down a team high eight rebounds. The Huskies connected on 18 of 54 shots from the field (33.3%), were 6 for 20 from behind the three-point arc (30.0%), and 2 for 4 at the free throw line (50.0%).
Boensch had a game high 20 points for Grand Valley State followed by DeBoer with 12 points and a team high five assists. Dailey chipped in nine points and reeled in a game high 10 rebounds. The Lakers found success on 27 of 67 shots from the floor (40.3%), were 6 of 20 from three-point land (30.0%), and 10 of 13 at the free throw line (76.9%). Grand Valley State out-rebounded Tech 48-28, had 22 second chance points, and 19 points off of turnovers.
The Huskies will look to regroup Saturday when they travel to Davenport for another GLIAC matchup with the Panthers. Davenport lost at home to Northern Michigan 52-42 on Thursday night. The tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. eastern time.