MOORHEAD, Minn. - The Michigan Tech women's basketball team recorded another road victory to start the 2017-18 season, this time defeating 19th ranked Minnesota State Moorhead Thursday night 66-53. The Huskies took a 33-27 lead with an 8-0 run to end the second quarter and then outscored the Dragons by six in the third quarter on their way to the victory.
"Obviously we were thrilled to be able to come in and get a win against another good team on their home floor," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "We challenged our team to be able to step up and they did. One thing that stands out is that Hannah Stoll has had back to back games where she has guarded and shutdown a conference player of the year. I thought that was a huge part of what we did tonight in taking away Sannes. We are growing and learning each game and I'm really happy for our players."
As expected, it was a tightly contested game throughout the first quarter Thursday night. Michigan Tech (3-0) struck first when junior Elizabeth Kelliher knocked down a jump shot just outside the paint with just over nine minutes to go in the first quarter. Minnesota State Moorhead (0-1) then reeled off five straight points to grab a 5-2 edge on a triple by Drew Sannes and a layup courtesy of Megan Hintz.
The Huskies though came storming back with a jumper from senior Brenna Heise and a three-point bucket by senior Lindsay Winter to make it 6-5 with 6:12 showing on the clock. The largest lead for either side in the first was a 14-11 advantage by the Dragons at the 3:38 mark. The Huskies eventually slipped back in front 19-17 right before the end of the quarter on a trey by junior Michelle LaFave, who would go on to record a career high 14 points.
The teams continued to trade baskets for the first seven plus minutes of the second quarter until the late scoring burst by the Huskies. Trailing MSU-Moorhead 27-25 with 2:26 to play until halftime, Tech began what turned into the pivotal 8-0 run. Winter hit the first bucket when she found the target from behind the arc to make it 28-27. Before time had expired in the second quarter, senior Kelli Guy contributed three points and LaFave chipped in two more to give the Huskies a 33-27 lead at halftime.
Michigan Tech kept the Dragons at arm's length throughout the third quarter, but could never pull completely away. However, the Huskies were able to create some more separation as time went by. Tech's first double digit lead came with 3:21 to go in the third when Winter connected again from three-point land to make it a 47-37 score. With 51 second left on the third quarter clock, the lead grew to 53-41 thanks to a Winter layup.
In the fourth period, MSU-Moorhead cut the gap to seven points on a couple of occasions, but each time the Huskies had an answer. LaFave came up big for Tech down the stretch with three straight field goals in the final two minutes to keep the Dragons from engineering a bigger run to get into striking distance.
Winter guided the Huskies in both points and rebounds again Thursday night with 20 points and nine boards. Winter closed the night 8 of 13 from the field and 4 of 5 from behind the three-point arc. She is averaging 18.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game through the first three contests of 2017-18.
LaFave followed with a career high 14 points and Kelliher connected on 6 of 11 shots from the field on her way to 12 points. Heise chipped in eight points, grabbed four rebounds, blocked two shots, and had two steals. Senior Hannah Stoll finished with seven points and created havoc for the Dragons offense with her performance on defense. Guy led the Huskies in assists with five and picked up seven rebounds.
As a team, Tech was 29 of 60 from the field (48.3%), 7 of 17 from three-point range (41.2%), and 1 for 4 at the free throw line (25.0%). The Huskies outscored MSU-Moorhead in every quarter and controlled the paint with a 26-18 edge in points in the paint.
Megan Hintz led the Dragons with 20 points and five rebounds followed by Jacky Volkert with 14 points. Sannes reeled in a game high 11 rebounds, but was limited offensively to just six points. As a team, MSU-Moorhead made just 17 of 53 shots from the field (32.1%), were 4 of 17 from behind the arc (23.5%), and 15 of 21 at the free throw line (71.4%). The Dragons did have a slight edge in rebounds at 37-34.
The win at No. 19 MSU-Moorhead Thursday night was the first over a WBCA NCAA Division II Top 25 ranked team by the Huskies since December 13th, 2014. That day Tech prevailed over 8th ranked Wayne State 68-55.
The Huskies will be back on the court Friday night when they travel to Minnesota-Crookston for another non-conference contest. The tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.