Strong Second Quarter Propels Tech Past Wayne State

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DETROIT, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Tech women's basketball team capped the weekend with a 62-46 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win Saturday afternoon at Wayne State. The Huskies bounced back from a tough loss Thursday at Ashland, outscoring the Warriors 25-9 in the second quarter to establish momentum and take control of the game.

"We really responded well from Thursday's game and to come out and right off the bat bring the intensity was huge today," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "I thought our defense was really sharp and we had great communication, which was also nice to see. Our confidence was good and sometimes after a loss player's can get down, but I thought our leaders did a great job of getting us prepared for this game. We are excited to be back at home Thursday night after the road trip to begin the New Year. We are going to face a lot of pressure from Ferris State, which we handled pretty well today."

Both defenses controlled the flow of the game in the first quarter Saturday afternoon in Detroit. Michigan Tech (8-6, 4-2 GLIAC) got the upper hand first when junior Abbie Botz knocked down a jumper 23 seconds into the action. Sophomore Cassidy Trotter put the Huskies up 4-1 on a jump shot in the lane and made it 4-1. Following a Wayne State (7-7, 2-4 GLIAC) basket, Botz converted a layup with 6:24 to play in the first, extending the lead to 6-3.

The Warriors then proceeded to go on an 8-0 scoring burst and that resulted in an 11-6 advantage for the home team with 1:31 left in the opening period. Sam Cherney capped the run with a free throw, but it would prove to be Wayne State's largest lead of the afternoon. The Huskies were able to wrestle some of the momentum back from Wayne State in the final 90 seconds of the frame. Senior Elizabeth Kelliher converted a free throw and Botz closed the quarter on a layup to make it 11-9 heading into the second.

With just over eight minutes to play until halftime, junior Ellie Welsh vaulted the Huskies back in front when she dialed in a triple to make it 12-11. Key buckets and defensive stops helped generate a 28-16 edge with 2:48 to go until intermission. Welsh had the honors of giving the Huskies their first double digit lead of the day with her second triple of the quarter. A three-point basket courtesy of freshman Ellie Mackay capped the second quarter and sent the Huskies into the locker room with a 34-20 advantage.

The Huskies picked up right where left off in the third quarter, widening the gap to 20 points at a 42-20 on a layup from freshman Sloane Zenner just over 90 seconds in. Tech would the hold its largest lead of the day when Kelliher cashed in a layup to make it a 46-24 score.

Wayne State chipped away at the deficit and pulled back to within 14 points at 50-36 on a free throw from Jessica Murphy two minutes into the fourth. However, that's as close as the Warriors would get. Tech engineered a 9-2 run over the next three minutes, culminating on a Botz layup that created a 59-38 score with 4:55 on the clock. The Huskies were able to keep the Warriors at arm's length from there.

Botz led a trio of Tech players who posted 10 or more points in Saturday's victory with 14. Botz also grabbed a team best eight rebounds, blocked a shot, and produced a steal. Mackay followed with 13 points and three assists while junior Hannah Hobson rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points. Kelliher closed the contest with seven points, six rebounds, two assists, three blocked shots, and three steals. Trotter had eight points and a team best four steals.

As a team, the Huskies made 23 of 58 attempts from the floor (39.7%), were 7 for 23 from behind the arc (30.4%), and 9 for 11 at the charity stripe (81.8%). Tech logged 30 points in the paint and forced 18 Wayne State turnovers which led to 15 points on the offensive end of the floor.

Ja'Nae Williams paced the Warriors with 13 points and was the only player to have double digit point totals in the contest. Grace George followed with eight points and 10 rebounds while Cherney chipped in seven points and equaled George with 10 boards. The Warriors combined to make just 16 of 58 shots from the field (27.6%), were 1 of 18 from three-point range (5.6%), and 13 of 19 at the free throw line (68.4%).

The Huskies are back in Houghton Thursday night when they host Ferris State in a GLIAC contest at the SDC Gym. The tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. eastern time.