HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team held on to defeat Lake Superior State University 75-65 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference battle in the SDC Saturday afternoon. The victory by the Huskies clinched the GLIAC North Division title and extended the winning streak to eight games heading into the final two regular season contests next week. The divsion title is the 15th regular season conference championship in program history.
"I really proud of our players for securing this win," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "Lake Superior State played great and it was an excellent game. Both teams shot the ball very well. We were fortunate to make a little run to start the second half and create a little bit of a lead because they (LSSU) were really shooting it well today.
"It feels awesome to clinch the North Division title and it was a big goal for us to do that this season. It's not an easy thing to do in this conference and I am super proud of our team. Our players have handled everything that has come at them this season, including injuries and playing 15 of 23 games on the road. It hasn't been easy and in the past we may have dropped a game here or there that we shouldn't have, but this year we've powered through and got the job done."
Lake Superior State (2-21, 1-17 GLIAC) jumped out of the gate with a quick start Saturday and led for the majority of the first quarter. Rebecca Villanueva gave the Lakers a 17-10 advantage on a pair of free throws with just under two minutes to go in the period. Michigan Tech (22-3, 16-2 GLIAC) began to find a bit of a rhythm on offense late in the quarter, putting together an 8-1 run to knot the score at 18-18 through 10 minutes. Junior Michelle LaFave, senior Kelli Guy, freshman Cassidy Trotter, and senior Brenna Heise all contributed key buckets during that stretch.
The Huskies extended the run into the second quarter with Heise converting a pair of shots at the free throw line followed by a triple from LaFave to make it 23-18 with 8:29 to go until the half. The Huskies then increased their advantage to nine points at 34-25 on a trey from sophomore Hannah Hobson with just over four minutes to play in the second. However, the Lakers would close the gap back to one at 37-36 following an Abigail Ostman three-pointer at the 1:54 mark. The two teams would trade points in the final two minutes with Tech carrying a 39-38 lead into the intermission.
Senior Hannah Stoll collected three points and Heise added two more at the outset of the third quarter, resulting in a 44-38 lead for the Huskies. Once again though, Lake Superior State would prevent Tech from creating any further separation and re-took the lead 50-49 on a Natalie Peterson layup with 3:58 showing on the third quarter clock. The Huskies engineered a late 6-0 charge to close the third to get back in front 55-52, culminating on a conventional three-point play by Stoll.
Hobson then opened up the fourth quarter on a layup and free throw to extend Tech's lead to 58-52 early in the fourth period. The Huskies remained in front the rest of the way, but the Lakers were close behind until late in the fourth. Leading 66-61 with 2:34 left, the Huskies sank nine free throws to seal the win. Meanwhile, the Tech defense shut down the Lakers attack by limiting them to just four points in that final span of time.
Stoll guided the Huskies offense with a career high 20 points by converting 7 of 9 shots from the field and 6 of 8 chances at the free throw line. Stoll's previous season/career high of 18 points was set earlier this season against Minnesota Duluth in a 79-70 overtime win at the SDC. Heise followed Stoll with 16 points and paced the team in rebounds with nine on Saturday. LaFave tossed in 15 points, Hobson secured nine points and three assists while Guy completed the contest with nine points as well.
As a team, Tech was on target with 25 of 52 shots from the field (48.1%), hit 5 of 17 shots from behind the arc (29.4%), and converted 20 of 25 opportunities at the free throw line (80.0%). The defense forced 14 Laker turnovers which led to 10 points on the stat sheet.
Lake Superior State had five players with double digit point totals, led by Lexie Khon with 14. Ostman recorded 12 points, Tamara Novic fired in 11 points, and Claire Radtke along with Villanueva each scored 10 points. Novic had a game high 11 rebounds and Radtke distributed six assists. The Lakers made 22 of 54 shots from the floor (40.7%), were 7 of 17 from three-point range (41.2%), and 14 of 17 at the free throw line (82.4%). They also had a 34-28 edge in rebounding.
The Huskies will wrap up the regular season at home next week when they host Wayne State on Thursday night and Davenport on Saturday afternoon. Thursday's showdown with the Warriors is slated for 5:30 p.m.