ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team closed the Thanksgiving weekend with an 83-76 road victory at Concordia St. Paul Saturday evening. The Huskies trailed 35-31 at halftime and turned the tide of the game by outscoring the Golden Bears 28-15 in the third quarter on their way to the win.
"We still need to improve on defense, but we had a big surge in the second half and we were able to feed off the excitement from some big stops," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "Sarah LewAllen did a great job for us today slowing down Anna Schmitt who is a great player for Concordia St. Paul. The key to today's game was getting stops in the second half and Sarah was a big part of that.
"This was an important game for us to see how we would respond to a little bit of adversity. We learned a lot from the Augustana game about the areas we need to get better in and I believe we will. It was nice to get this win to close the week and I really thought we got our excitement back in the second half today. This will give us a boost as we get set to open conference play on Thursday against Saginaw Valley State."
Michigan Tech (6-1) fired out of the gate on an 8-1 run Saturday afternoon thanks to some solid shooting by senior Kelli Guy who would finish the game with 24 points. Guy got to the free throw line 31 seconds into the action and sank two attempts to put the Huskies in front 2-0. Guy then followed them up with back to back triples to give Tech an 8-1 advantage with 8:02 left in the first quarter.
The Huskies held the edge until Sydney Weierke deadlocked the score at 13-13 with just over two minutes to play in the first period. Tech slipped in front again 17-13 with consecutive buckets from junior Elizabeth Kelliher and sophomore Baillie McGirk with under a minute on the clock. Danielle Schaub then converted a pair of free throw attempts right before the quarter break to bring Concordia St. Paul (2-3) back to within two at 17-15.
Those two free throws produced the first two points in what would be a 13-0 run by the Golden Bears, resulting in a 26-17 deficit for the Huskies with 7:40 left in the half. Tech regrouped and closed to within three points again at 28-25 on a triple courtesy of senior Lindsay Winter. The Golden Bears went up by six points again at 35-29 on a trey from Schmitt, but junior Michelle LaFave would give the Huskies some momentum on a jumper in the paint right before the buzzer to end the second quarter.
With just over six minutes to go in the third quarter, Tech recovered the advantage at 43-42 when senior Hannah Stoll got open under the basket for a layup. Winter widened the gap to seven points at 57-50 on another trey and then the Huskies' defense came up with a couple of key blocked shots from LewAllen and Kelliher on attempts by Schmitt. Guy closed an impressive third quarter for the Huskies with a jumper in the paint to make it a 59-50 lead in favor of the Huskies through 30 minutes.
Tech kept the momentum going in quarter number four, pushing the lead out to 18 points at 70-52 thanks to a three-point field goal by Guy. The Huskies had to withstand a late charge by the Golden Bears that reduced the cushion down to five at 81-76. Free throws proved to be key for Tech in the final 1:06 with Winter and senior Brenna Heise combining to go 7 for 8 at the stripe. Heise's two free throws with 27 seconds to play made it a seven-point lead at 83-76 and sealed the victory.
Guy paced the Huskies with 24 points by connecting on 8 of 15 shots from the field, including a 6 of 9 performance from behind the three-point arc. She also dished out five assists and grabbed two rebounds in the victory. Winter followed with 18 points and five rebounds while Heise wrapped up the weekend with 17 points and a team high six rebounds. Stoll closed the contest with eight points while Kelliher chipped in six points, four rebounds, and three blocked shots. LewAllen distributed six assists, had two big blocked shots and three rebounds.
As a team, the Huskies made good on 32 of 59 shots from the field (54.2%), were 10 of 16 from long distance (62.5%), and 9 of 14 at the charity stripe (64.3%). The Tech defense forced 14 CSP turnovers which led to 25 points.
Schmitt had a game high 33 points for the Golden Bears followed by Lindsay Dorr with 13 points and Ellie Gess with 10 points. Dorr grabbed a game high eight rebounds in addition to her point totals. The Golden Bears were successful on 29 of 59 shots from the field (49.2%), were 6 of 13 from three-point range (46.2%), and 12 of 16 at the free throw line (75.0%). The Golden Bears had a slight edge in rebounding at 34-29.
The Huskies will be back in action on Thursday when they host Saginaw Valley State in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener at the SDC Gymnasium. The tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.