March 16, 2013

Women's Basketball Falls to No. 2 Ashland in Regional Semis

ASHLAND, Ohio — The Michigan Tech women's basketball team saw its season come to an end today in the NCAA Tournament round of 32 with a 67-54 loss at No. 2-ranked Ashland. The Eagles got 32 points from Kari Daugherty to defend their home court in front of 2,347 fans at the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal.

Tech finished its season at 21-8 with three of those losses coming to Ashland—once in the regular season, last weekend in the GLIAC Tournament semifinals and tonight.

Despite a slow start and a 12-2 deficit in the opening minutes, the Black and Gold stayed with the homestanding Eagles through the first half. Senior Emma Veach hit back-to-back buckets around the six minute mark to give the Huskies one-point leads each time.

Neither team scored a field goal in the final five minutes of the frame, and Ashland entered halftime with a 30-28 advantage.

The hosts came out and grew the margin to nine in the early moments of the second half. Tech countered with 3-pointers from Sam Hoyt, Jillian Ritchie, Kelcey Traynoff and Paige Albi to stay within 48-45 at the 10-minute mark.

Daugherty then took over with eight straight points including four from the foul line to push the gap to 11. Emily Harrison's jumper made it a nine-point game with 6:58 to play, but the Eagles regained their double-digit lead 30 seconds later and never relinquished it.

Free throws proved to be a big factor in the game with AU making 16-of-20 compared to 3-of-5 for Tech. The Huskies put in nine 3-pointers (for a total of 24 in the two tournament games) on 19 attempts for 47 percent. Unfortunately, they were only 33 percent (12-of-36) on attempts inside the arc.

Ashland went 24-of-50 (48 percent) from the floor and held a 35-28 rebounding advantage.

Veach and Ritchie scored a team-high 12 points apiece. Hoyt added 10 points and seven assists. The Eagles received double-doubles from both Daugherty (32 points, 13 rebounds) and Daiva Gerbec (12 points, 11 rebounds).

Veach and Hoyt both played in their final games in a Huskies uniform.

"I'm proud of our seniors who have led us this entire season," said head coach Kim Cameron. "They have been everything we needed them to be both on and off the floor. They have had incredible careers and will always be remembered as top players for Michigan Tech women's basketball."

Hoyt finishes her four-year career as Tech's seventh-leading scorer all time with 1,434 points. She also set the record for season free throw percentage at 90.1 percent (100-111). Veach posted 385 points in her two seasons at Michigan Tech and finished as the school's top career 3-point shooter (46.1 percent).

Michigan Tech, which is now 23-17 all-time in 18 NCAA Tournament appearances, had its streak of 10 straight NCAA Midwest Regional wins snapped tonight. The GLIAC is guaranteed a representative in the NCAA Elite Eight for the fifth straight year. Ashland will face Wayne State on Monday (Mar. 18) in the regional title game.