HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Tech women's basketball team picked up their second win in a row with a 74-60 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory at home over Davenport University Thursday night in the SDC Gym.
The Huskies are battling for a spot in the upcoming conference tournament and the win was crucial. The victory setup Tech in a three-way tied for sixth place in the overall conference standings, with the top eight teams advancing to the postseason.
"I thought it was critical that we had a fast start tonight," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "We have had a number of slow starts throughout the season and that was a point of emphasis for us coming into tonight's game. I'm really proud of the way that we showed some resiliency when they made a push to get back in the game in the second quarter. Defensively, our overall effort to create ball pressure was critical for us tonight. It is exciting that at this time of the year we are starting to play our best basketball and get our confidence back. This was a big win for us tonight moving forward into Saturday's game against Grand Valley State."
Michigan Tech (10-15, 8-10 GLIAC) struck first when senior Ellie Welsh cut to the basket for a layup 21 seconds into the contest. Davenport (7-19, 2-16 GLIAC) picked up basket number one of the evening when Jenna Falkenberg found some space in the lane for a short jumper to make it a 2-2. The Huskies generated the next five points to go up 7-2 with 8:20 to play in the first period. Senior Abbie Botz found the target on a mid-range jumper followed by a triple courtesy of senior Hannah Hobson.
The Panthers battled back to tie the contest at 9-9 on a conventional three-point play from Madison Jones with 6:21 on the clock, but a quick triple in response from sophomore Ellie Mackay vaulted the Huskies back in front 12-9. Three-point baskets from freshmen Katelyn Meister and Sara Dax along with Mackay finding the mark from long distance helped Tech construct a 21-11 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Huskies would increase the gap to 11 points at 24-13 on a triple from Mackay in the final 30 seconds before a Falkenberg layup sliced the lead to 24-15 for Tech going into the second period.
The Panthers used the first six minutes of the second quarter to climb to within one of the Huskies at 28-27 courtesy of a free throw from Scout Nelson. However, freshman Kylie Mogen came through with a clutch three-point basket on the ensuing possession that stopped the Davenport charge and helped keep the Huskies on top. Tech eventually held a 35-32 edge going into the locker room at halftime.
Mackay got things rolling for Tech in the third quarter with back-to-back treys, which opened up a 41-32 advantage with just over a minute gone by in the frame. The Huskies expanded their lead to double digits once again at 48-38 on a Hobson layup with 4:45 on the third quarter clock. Tech finished off the quarter with five consecutive points on a Meister three-point bucket and a Mackay jumper right before time expired to make it a 61-47 score with 30 minutes in the books.
The Huskies largest lead of the night occurred at the 7:10 mark of the fourth quarter on a Dax free throw to make it 64-47. Tech then led by double digits the rest of the way with junior Cassidy Trotter closing out the contest in the final minute at the charity stripe. Trotter cashed in both chances at the line, resulting in the 74-60 final score.
Mackay powered the Huskies attack with a career high 27 points thanks in part to a 7 for 9 shooting performance from behind the arc. She also added five rebounds, three assists, and two steals to the stat sheet Thursday evening. Mackay's previous career high of 25 points was set earlier this season on November 18 at Minnesota State. Botz followed with 10 points and a game high 13 rebounds while Hobson and Meister collected seven points each. Trotter chipped in four points and dished out a team high six assists.
As a team, Tech wrapped up the game making 28 of 55 shots from the field (50.9%), were 12 of 28 from three-point range (42.9%), and 6 for 8 at the free throw line (75.0%). The Huskies out-rebounded the Panthers 42-31, combined for 19 assists, and had 28 points in the paint.
Falkenberg led the Panthers with 24 points and eight rebounds followed by Madison Jones with 12 points and Nelson with 11 points. Jones came up with five steals while Toni Grace chipped in six points and distributed four assists. The Panthers converted on only 22 of 64 shots from the field (34.4%), were 3 for 20 from behind the arc (15.0%), and 13 of 19 at the free throw line (68.4%).
The Huskies will be back on the court Saturday for Senior Day when they host No. 6 Grand Valley State. The tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. eastern time.