MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team suffered a tough 66-55 loss at Northern Michigan University Monday night to wrap up the first half of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division schedule. The Huskies were unable to overcome a slow start and were forced to play catchup throughout the game.
"It was a tough night for us right of the gates tonight," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "I thought we played tentative, especially offensively, and were never able to get into a rhythm. We made a couple runs at them, but when it came to getting the big bucket or the big stop we failed."
Northern Michigan (14-7, 9-5 GLIAC) started the contest with a string of eight straight points to grab the lead. Both offenses struggled during the first two minutes with neither side able to crack the scoreboard until a pair of free throws by Bre Gaspervich of the Wildcats at the 7:44 mark of the first quarter. Sophomore Elizabeth Kelliher got Michigan Tech (14-5, 10-4 GLIAC) on the board via a layup with 5:20 remaining in the period.
The Wildcats bumped their advantage to 12-2 on a Gaspervich layup, but two Kelliher free throws and a jumper from redshirt junior Kelli Guy chopped the deficit down to 12-6. Unfortunately, Jessica Schultz dialed in a three pointer and Darby Youngstrom posted a layup, giving NMU a 17-6 lead to close out the first quarter.
The Huskies regrouped between quarters and started the second with back to back triples from junior Lindsay Winter and Guy. The quick six point scoring burst closed the gap to 17-12 with 8:34 to go until the break. The Wildcats pushed their lead back to seven points three more times in the second, but Tech stayed with them and shaved the deficit down to 26-24 at halftime. Kelliher tossed in a layup with just over a minute to play in the second and Winter capped the first half for the Huskies on a layup of her own with 19 seconds to go. Tech outscored Northern Michigan 18-9 in the second quarter to get back in the contest.
The Wildcats started the third quarter in similar fashion to their first quarter Monday night with three consecutive field goals. Sydney Dillinger, Youngstrom, and Schultz accounted for the points on layups. The Huskies fell behind by double digits again at 42-31 with just 31 seconds to go in the quarter, but Tech cashed in some free throws in the final seconds to keep it close. Winter was fouled attempting a three pointer and a technical foul was assessed to the Wildcats on the play as well. Winter made four of the five free throws to bring Tech to within seven points again at 42-35 going into the fourth period.
NMU collected six of the first eight points in the fourth quarter resulting in another 11-point lead at 48-37 with 6:48 to go in the game. Guy countered with a trey for the Huskies and then with 5:25 left Isabella O'Brien converted a conventional three-point play to slice the gap to 50-43. Following a Wildcat bucket, redshirt junior Brenna Heise knocked down a 17-foot jumper and found the target from behind the arc to chop the NMU lead down to four points at 52-48 with just over four minutes to go.
The Wildcats took some of the momentum back with four straight free throws, but Winter kept Tech's hopes alive down 56-51 on triple with 1:44 to go. Unfortunately, a turnover by the Huskies and two failed defensive stops over the next 45 seconds led to four more free throws and a 60-51 Wildcat lead. Tech could get no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Winter paced the Huskies with 15 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals in Monday's game at NMU. Kelliher followed with 14 points, four assists, and added three more blocks to her season totals. Guy chipped in eight points, four steals, three assists and four rebounds. As a team, Tech converted 21 of 58 shots from the field (36.2%), had 6 of 18 successful attempts from behind the three-point arc, and made good on 7 of 9 looks at the free throw line (77.8%).
Gaspervich generated a game high 20 points for Northern Michigan followed by Youngstrom with 15 points. Gaspervich grabbed five rebounds, dished out three assists, and caused five turnovers with steals. Jessica Schultz closed the night with eight points and four rebounds. The Wildcats converted 19 of 42 shots from the field (45.2%), were 2 of 8 from three-point range, and sank 26 of 29 attempts at the free throw line (89.7%). The Wildcats had the edge in rebounds at 34-29.
The Huskies will look to regroup on Thursday night when they head to Northwood University for another GLIAC battle. The tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.