EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team regrouped on Sunday with an impressive 79-61 win over previously unbeaten University of Southern Indiana on day two of the USI Thanksgiving Classic. The Huskies never trailed in the game and a strong third quarter allowed them to pull away in the second half.
"This was a big victory for us and our team responded very well after a tough loss yesterday," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "We couldn't be more proud of the effort from our players today and the intensity that they played with. It was a fun game to be a part of and watch with us playing at such a high level. Our defense was really strong, especially in the second half and enabled us to pull away in the third quarter. We did an outstanding job controlling the basketball and limiting turnovers especially since we faced a pressure defense the entire game. We rebounded well, hit our open shots, and handled the press which was big for us this afternoon."
Michigan Tech (4-1) set the tone in the opening two minutes of the game when senior Morgan Anderson cut through the defense for a pair of layups to make it a 4-0 score. Southern Indiana (5-1) countered with the next four points which created the only tie in Sunday's game at 4-4. Hannah Wascher tossed in a pair of free throws and Kaydie Grooms banked in a layup to account for the four points.
The Huskies then took the lead for good with a quick 8-2 scoring burst to go up 12-6 with 5:44 left in the first quarter. Anderson hit a pair of triples and Brenna Heise connected on a jump shot during the run. The Screaming Eagles kept it close when Tanner Marcum cashed in a triple to cut the lead to 12-11 with just under four minutes remaining in the first period. Heise then notched a pair of field goals and Anderson dialed in another trey from behind the arc to close out the quarter, giving the Huskies a 19-14 advantage with 10 minutes in the books.
Southern Indiana managed to pull to within two points of the Huskies on five different occasions in the second quarter, but Tech had an answer each time to keep the lead and prevent the Screaming Eagles from grabbing any of the momentum. Leading 34-32 with 2:32 remaining on the second quarter clock, the Huskies closed the period with the final four points. Redshirt junior Kelli Guy had a layup and two free throws, creating a 38-32 gap in favor of Tech as both teams went into the locker room at halftime.
The Huskies then took control of the game by outscoring the Screaming Eagles 26-10 in the third quarter. Sophomore Elizabeth Kelliher gave Tech its first double digit lead at 47-36 with 6:16 left on the clock thanks to a pair of free throws. Heise bumped the advantage to 56-38 on a jumper with 3:09 left in the third and then with just over one-minute left Guy found the mark from behind the arc to make the score 59-40. Guy then capped the quarter with another triple just before the buzzer sounded, resulting in a 64-42 Tech advantage through 30 minutes of play.
The Huskies largest lead occurred 10 seconds into the fourth quarter on a Heise jumper to make it 66-42. Southern Indiana brought the gap down to 15 points at 70-55 with 4:57 to play on a jumper by Morgan Dahlstrom, but that's as close as the Screaming Eagles would get.
Heise led the Huskies with a season high 24 points thanks to a 10 for 18 shooting performance from the field. She was also 4 for 4 at the free throw line, grabbed five rebounds, and blocked a pair of shots. Anderson followed with 20 points and was 8 of 15 from the field, including four triples. She also grabbed a team high seven rebounds and dished out four assists on the afternoon. Guy rounded out the double digit scorers for the Huskies with a season high 18 points. Guy was 6 for 11 from the field, knocked down four shots from behind the arc, distributed three assists, and grabbed five rebounds.
As a team, Tech was 29 of 63 from the field (46.0%), 9 of 22 from three-point range (40.9%), and 12 for 13 at the charity stripe (92.3%). The Huskies out-rebounded Southern Indiana 31-30, had 14 total assists, created 20 points off turnovers by forcing 16 Screaming Eagles miscues.
Grooms and Marcum each had 11 points to pace Southern Indiana in Sunday's game. Kacy Eschweiler grabbed six rebounds off the bench and contributed four points. Dahlstrom chipped in nine points and Tasia Brewer added eight points in the contest. The Screaming Eagles were 20 of 45 from the field (44.4%), 4 of 7 from three-point range (57.1%), and 17 of 23 at the free throw line (73.9%).
The Huskies will return to the court on Saturday when they host Walsh University in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener at the SDC Gymnasium. The tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.