HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team held off the University of Minnesota Duluth for a 79-70 non-conference victory in overtime Monday in the home opener at the SDC Gym. The Huskies led by as many as 14 points, but a late charge by the Bulldogs sent the game into the extra frame where the Huskies outscored UMD 18-9 to earn the win.
"We were a little up and down throughout the game and maybe a little tired," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "There are so many good things that are happening, but there are some things that we still need to work on. They made a pretty big run at us to start the second half and our offense was a little up and down. We battled through it though and came back from a four-point deficit late in the fourth quarter for force overtime.
"We came out strong in overtime which we need to do on our home floor and it was hard, but I'm really proud of our players for gutting it out. It may not have been our best game, but we did a lot of good things throughout the night that if we continue to improve on we'll be alright."
Michigan Tech (5-0) won for the fifth consecutive time to start the season and it's the first winning streak of five games or more since a span of six straight wins from February 21st to March 14th of the 2015 campaign. That season, the Huskies also had winning stretches of 10 and 13 games on their way to a 28-3 record and an appearance in the NCAA Division II Regional Semifinals.
Michigan Tech gained the upper hand against Minnesota Duluth (1-1) early Monday night with an 8-2 scoring run to start the contest. Senior Hannah Stoll had the hot hand by posting the first eight points for the Huskies on a jumper, layup, free throw and triple. Tech stretched the lead to 22-13 with just over a minute to go in the first quarter on a jumper by Brenna Heise and carried a 22-14 advantage into the second quarter.
The Huskies created a double digit gap at 28-18 with just over six minutes to play in the second quarter thanks to a mid-range jumper by Stoll. However, the Bulldogs countered with a 7-2 run that culminated on a Sammy Kozlowski layup with 3:30 to play until the break.
Michigan Tech regrouped and generated a 7-0 scoring burst of their own to build what would be the largest lead of the night at 39-25. Sophomore Baillie McGirk drove through the paint for a layup at the 2:59 mark followed by two buckets from senior Kelli Guy to close the half.
The Bulldogs would not go quietly though and by the 3:38 mark of the third quarter, they had sliced the gap that existed between them and Huskies down to four points at 44-40. A layup by Anna Monke capped what was a 9-0 run to make it a two possession game with still plenty of time on the clock. The Huskies did answer with the next seven points to go up by double digits again at 51-40 with less than two minutes to go in the third. Sophomore Hannah Hobson dialed in a big triple in that sequence to help spark the offense.
Minnesota Duluth was resilient and dominated the majority of the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs took the lead at 56-54 for the first time on a layup by Kozlowski with 4:52 on the clock. Katie Stark tacked on a layup and suddenly the Bulldogs had a four-point lead and the momentum with under four minutes to go.
Michigan Tech called timeout to regroup and that's exactly what the Huskies did. Senior Lindsay Winter got to the basket for a layup and two free throws from senior Brenna Heise tied the game at 58-58 with about 2:30 to play. Guy then put the Huskies in front again 61-58 when she connected from behind the arc, but a conventional three-point play from Kozlowski deadlocked the game at 61-61 to force overtime.
Michigan Tech set the tone at the beginning of overtime with a 7-1 run and didn't relinquish the lead from that moment forward. Heise got the first bucket to break the tie and an old fashion three-point play from Winter made it a 68-62 score with 2:38 remaining on the clock. The Bulldogs got back to within four points three times, but that's as close as they would get. Tech had an immediate answer on the offensive end of the floor each time.
Stoll powered the Huskies with a career high 18 points on a 7 of 14 shooting night from the field. She also hauled down seven rebounds and had a big steal in the second half. Guy and Winter followed with 17 points apiece while Winter notched her second double-double of the season with 11 rebounds. She also dished out a team best five assists. Heise rounded out the double digit scorers with a season high 14 points, six rebounds, and three steals.
The Huskies finished the night connecting on 30 of 66 shots from the field (45.5%), were 5 of 15 from behind the arc (33.3%), and 14 of 19 at the free throw line (73.7%). Tech out-rebounded UMD 47-40 and blocked six more shots. Monday's game was also the first overtime contest for the Huskies since February 13th, 2016 showdown at Saginaw Valley State.
Kozlowski dropped in a game high 19 points to go along with 11 rebounds and five assists to pace UMD. Stark added 11 points and Emma Boehm chipped in 10 points for the Bulldogs. Minnesota Duluth was successful on 27 of 73 shots from the field (37.0%), were 4 of 13 from three-point range (30.8%), and 12 of 20 at the free throw line (60.0%).
The Huskies will be back on the court again Friday when they battle Augustana (S.D.) over in St. Paul, Minnesota. Tech will then take on Concordia St. Paul Saturday to wrap up the non-conference portion of the 2017-18 schedule. Friday's tip-off is slated for 3 p.m. EST.