Tech Women dominate Davenport

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HOUGHTON, Mi. The Michigan Tech women's basketball team cruised past Davenport University for a 70-44 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory Saturday afternoon at the SDC Gym. The Huskies connected on 13 three-point baskets and the defense forced 25 turnovers in the victory.

"We talked before the game about needing to have the same defensive intensity that we had Thursday and take a step forward offensively, which we were able to do today," Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "We were much more aggressive, attacked the basket harder, and did a solid job of finding inside-out shots. Our players competed with a lot more confidence in regards to looking for their shots and understanding they are all scorers.

"It's always nice to go into a rivalry game coming off a win. We have some confidence offensively and we've been strong defensively, but we are going to have to play well against Northern Michigan because we know they are an incredible team. We are looking forward to the challenge and excited for the game."

Michigan Tech (11-7, 7-3 GLIAC) set the tone early in Saturday's game by reeling off the first nine points to establish control of the scoreboard. Senior Elizabeth Kelliher worked her way into the paint for Tech's first points of the day, cashing in a layup with 8:21 on the clock. Junior Ellie Welsh fired in a triple a minute later, junior Abbie Botz followed with a mid-range jumper, and then Kelliher capped scoring burst with a layup to make it 9-0 with 6:02 to go in the first quarter.

Davenport (5-12, 3-7 GLIAC) then countered with a quick 5-0 run to close the gap down to four points at 9-5. Jenna Falkenberg delivered the first points of the game for the Panthers on a three-point bucket and then it was Toni Grace finding the bottom of the net on a layup with 5:22 remaining in the first quarter.

Sophomore Cassidy Trotter answered quickly for the Huskies by driving to the basket and drawing contact from the Davenport defense. Trotter converted two shots at the charity stripe to make it 11-5 with 4:49 on the clock. The Huskies then bumped their lead to 14-7 on a triple from Trotter before the Panthers climbed back to within one point at 14-13 via a three pointer by Grace.

The Huskies closed out the first quarter strong, delivering five of the final six points of the opening period. Junior Hannah Hobson found the mark on a triple and Kelliher added two more points in the paint on a layup with 1:43 on the clock. Martyna Pioro finished out the first quarter for Davenport with a free throw, sending the contest into the second quarter with a 19-14 score in favor of the Huskies.

The separation between the two clubs remained at single digits until the 4:20 mark of the second quarter. Freshman Ellie Mackay zoned in from behind the arc to increase Tech's cushion to 30-20. The Huskies pulled ahead by as many as 12 points at 35-23 on a Trotter layup with 2:30 remaining until the intermission and eventually carried a 35-25 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

The Huskies maintained a double digit lead for the majority of the third quarter, although the Panthers closed the gap back down to two possessions at 43-37 on a pair of free throws by Amanda Merz with just over four minutes remaining. Junior Hannah Hobson had the answer for Tech and stopped the momentum by delivering a key three-point basket on the ensuing possession.

Hobson's triple boosted the lead back to nine points at 46-37 with 4:04 to play in the third quarter. Mackay followed with a mid-range jumper and just like that the lead was back to double figures. The Huskies wrapped up the third period with a 56-41 lead and with 1:22 to go in the fourth, freshman Sloane Zenner dropped in the final basket of the day for Tech, which resulted in the final tally of 70-44.

Mackay led the Huskies' offense with 14 points in the victory on Saturday. Mackay was 4 of 6 from three-point range and added five rebounds, two assists, and one steal to the stat sheet. Sophomore Cassidy Trotter followed with 12 points, four assists, and four steals while Kelliher rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. Botz chipped in six points and grabbed a team high six rebounds while Welsh fired in six points and dealt out a team best five assists.

As a team, the Huskies made good on 26 of 53 shots from the field (49.1%), had a season high 13 three-point baskets out of 24 chances (54.2%), which was three shy of a school record. Tech wrapped up the contest 5 of 7 in opportunities at the free throw line (71.4%) and the Huskies' defense forced 25 turnovers which led to 27 points on the offensive end of the floor.

Merz powered the Davenport attack with 11 points, six assists, and four steals while Jenna Falkenberg just missed a double-double by way of nine points and a game high 11 rebounds. The Panthers connected on just 16 of 48 shots from the field (33.3%), were 6 of 17 from long distance (35.3%), and 6 of 8 at the free throw line. Davenport had a slight edge in total rebounding at 33-29.

The Huskies will now turn their attention to rival Northern Michigan as they journey to Marquette next Saturday for a key GLIAC showdown. The tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. eastern time.