Huskies Rally to Top Grand Valley State 68-61

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team battled back for a 68-61 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win at home against No. 24 Grand Valley State Thursday night. The Huskies rallied from an 11-point deficit late in the third quarter, outscoring the Lakers 22-9 in the final period to secure a key victory.

"It was an outstanding game tonight and I'm proud of the way we battled back," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "Grand Valley State is a really good team and for us to step up to that challenge knowing what's on the line was huge. We were able to change the momentum of the game due in large part to great defense. Sarah LewAllen and Cassidy Trotter made a big difference for us defensively. Sometimes that doesn't show up on the stat sheet, but the game doesn't go the way it did if it wasn't for those two players defensively.

"This was a huge win for us tonight and I'm really proud of our team for meeting the challenge and protecting our home floor. It was a hard game to win and both teams really battled in what was a very good game. I'm happy that we were tough enough to pull it out."

Michigan Tech (17-3, 11-2 GLIAC) exploded out of the gate Thursday night with a 13-2 run that covered the first four minutes in the opening quarter. The Huskies had a trio of triples with senior Lindsay Winter connecting on two while senior Kelli Guy fired in the other. An additional trey by Winter boosted Tech's lead to 16-4 with 4:28 showing on the clock.

However, Grand Valley State (17-4, 10-3 GLIAC) countered with an 11-0 scoring burst to draw within one at 16-15. Jenn DeBoer capped the run by dialing in a long distance jumper with just over two minutes to play in the first. Fortunately, the Huskies were able to create some separation before the buzzer sounded. Senior Hannah Stoll drained a triple and junior Elizabeth Kelliher delivered a layup for the final bucket of the period, giving Tech a 21-15 advantage through 10 minutes.

Stoll started the second quarter with a triple and sophomore Baillie McGirk drove to the basket for a layup to extend the lead back to double digits at 26-15. The Lakers controlled the majority of what was left of the second period, engineering a 15-4 run to tie the game at 30-30 with 3:31 to go in the half. Stoll briefly put the Huskies in front again 33-30 on another trey, but GVSU got layups from DeBoer and Taylor Parmley in the final 90 seconds of the half to give the Lakers a 34-33 edge at the break.

The two teams traded baskets in the early moments of the third quarter and with 6:36 on the clock, senior Brenna Heise gave Tech a 41-38 edge on a pair of free throws. Grand Valley State then went on a 14-0 scoring run during the next five minutes to build a 52-41 lead for themselves. Korynn Hincka found the mark on a mid-range jumper for the final basket during that stretch.

The Huskies were able to regroup late in the third and the momentum would carry forward into the fourth quarter. Tech began to turn the tide back in their favor in the final minute of the third on a layup from Heise and a three-point bucket courtesy of Winter to make it a 52-46 contest going into the fourth.

Stoll produced five of the first seven points in the fourth quarter, including her third triple of the night, that put the Huskies back on top at 53-52 with 8:45 to play. Freshman Cassidy Trotter capped the run for Tech on a layup about a minute later, making it a 55-52 score.

The Huskies would hold the lead for the remainder of the night, although it wouldn't grow past two possessions until the final seconds. Tech's defense came up with some key stops and in the final 90 seconds Tech was 6 for 6 at the free throw line. Kelliher, Winter, and Heise combined to seal the 68-61 win at the charity stripe.

Heise powered the Huskies' offense with 16 points and a season high 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Stoll followed with 15 points and had a new single game career high of three successful three-point shots. Winter rounded out the double digit scorers with 14 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Kelliher chipped in eight points and nine rebounds while Trotter added six points and two big steals on defense in the second half.

The Huskies converted on 25 of 57 shots from the field (43.9%), were 10 for 28 from three-point range (35.7%), and 8 of 11 at the free throw line (72.7%). Rebounds were even between the two teams at 36 apiece, but Tech had 12 second chance points thanks to 10 offensive rebounds. The win gives the Huskies sole possession of first place in the GLIAC North Division and a regular season series sweep of the Lakers. Tech defeated GVSU on the road 85-81 in overtime back in December.

Parmley guided the Lakers with 22 points followed by DeBoer with 14 points. Cassidy Boensch tacked on eight points and was Grand Valley State's top rebounder with 10 boards. The Lakers made good on 23 of 58 shots from the field (39.7%), were 4 of 14 from three-point range (28.6%), and 11 of 16 at the free throw line (68.8%).

The Huskies will host Purdue Northwest Saturday afternoon for another GLIAC contest in the SDC. The tip-off is slated for 1 p.m.