MTU Women's Basketball starts slowly, struggles against UW-Parkside

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HOUGHTON, Mi. The Michigan Tech women's basketball team fell in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest to Parkside 62-40 Thursday night at the SDC Gym. The Huskies faced a 19-5 deficit at the end of the first quarter and could never recover from the slow start.

"Overall, it was a poor performance tonight," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "I don't think that is who we are as a team and I said that to our players after the game. We weren't mentally prepared going into the game and I didn't feel like our energy was great. When things started going poorly, we kind of shutdown and that can't be who we are. Give credit to Parkside though, because they are a very good team and played well tonight.

"It's great news that we are able to get back on the court and play Saturday. We get a chance to show who we really are and have the opportunity to bounce back from this. It's going to say a lot about who we are as a team in how we respond. There are going to be ups and downs as the year goes on. We are playing a lot of young players so it's now about how we respond and grow from this game."

Parkside (3-4, 2-1 GLIAC) jumped in front on the opening possession when Taylor Stephen sent in a triple from the wing 32 seconds into the action. Michigan Tech (5-4, 2-1 GLIAC) countered with a free throw from senior Elizabeth Kelliher and knotted the game on a layup from sophomore Cassidy Trotter to make it a 3-3 score with 8:03 remaining in the first quarter.

Carolina Rahkonen then put the Rangers back in front on a three-point basket with just under eight minutes to play in the first. Hannah Plockelman extended the Rangers lead to 9-3 on a conventional three-point play before another Trotter layup found the mark to make it a 9-5 score at the 6:14 mark.

Unfortunately, Parkside reeled off the final 10 points of the first period and then tacked on two quick free throws to start the second. Blair Arthur's conversions at the charity stripe extended the gap to 21-5 with just under 10 minutes to go until the break. Parkside went on to create leads of 19 points twice in the second frame and then took a 32-12 advantage into the locker room at halftime with a free throw from Aina Cabrero Sinol in the final seconds.

The Huskies battled back to within 16 points on three occasions in the second half, but each time Parkside would respond to keep the Tech from gaining any more ground or momentum. The Rangers pushed the gap to 45-23 at the end of the third period before the Huskies drew to within 16 points again at 52-36 with just under four minutes remaining in the fourth. Junior's Abbie Botz and Hannah Hobson along with freshman Ellie Mackay helped spark the late run for Tech, but it was too little late.

Mackay and Trotter both guided the Huskies' offense with nine points apiece Thursday night against the Rangers. Botz chipped in five points and hauled down a team best nine rebounds to go along with three assists in the contest. On the defensive end of the floor, Trotter ended the night with a game high seven steals.

As a team, the Huskies were 16 of 59 from the field (27.1%), made 3 of 16 attempts from behind the arc (18.8%), and converted 5 of 9 opportunities at the free throw line (55.6%). Tech generated 24 points in the paint and scored 14 points off of Parkside turnovers.

Blair Arthur fired in a game high 14 points for the Rangers followed by Rahkonen with 12 points. Hannah Plockelman tacked on six points and reeled in a team high nine rebounds. As a team, the Rangers were successful on 21 of 54 shots from the field (38.9%), were 7 of 19 from three-point range (36.8%), and 13 of 18 at the charity stripe (72.2%). Parkside out-rebounded Tech 46-34 in Thursday's matchup.

The Huskies will look to regroup on Saturday when they entertain Purdue Northwest in the SDC Gym at 1 p.m. The Pride fell at Northern Michigan Thursday night 76-38.