HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team fell to Wayne State Thursday night 71-69 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest at the SDC Gym. The Huskies rallied late in the fourth quarter to tie the game, but two free throws in the final 10 seconds by the Warriors proved to be the difference.
"It was a tough game for us, but I thought we gave everything we had tonight," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "I thought our players played extremely hard all the way to the end and gave ourselves a chance late in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, we were one play short and ran out of time.
"Kelli [Guy] had a great game tonight and is stepping up the way she is capable of. We needed her leadership and without Brenna [Heise] tonight she took on that leadership role. It was an awesome game for her reaching 1,000 career points and I'm really proud of what she was able to do tonight."
When both teams met earlier in the season the defenses dominated and that was the scenario in the first quarter. Michigan Tech (22-4, 16-3 GLIAC) and Wayne State (19-6, 14-5 GLIAC) traded baskets throughout the quarter with the teams combining for just 21 points. The largest lead for either side was three points at 11-8 in favor of the Warriors following a pair of free throws by Shannon Wilson with 22 seconds on the clock. Senior Kelli Guy, who would go on to record a career high 30 points and surpass 1,000 career points, sank a jumper to pull the Huskies to within one at 11-10 going into the second.
Guy's bucket sparked a 7-0 scoring run that led to a 15-11 advantage for Tech at the 8:54 mark. It was a three-point bucket by Guy that capped the run with junior Elizabeth Kelliher notching a layup to begin the second quarter, accounting for the other two points during that stretch.
Guy dialed in a trey from long distance a couple of minutes later to push the advantage to five points at 20-15, but Wayne State countered with nine unanswered to go back in front 24-20 with 1:35 remaining in the half. The teams traded baskets again in the final 90 seconds with senior Hannah Stoll closing the half on a layup to draw Tech to within two points at 26-24 going into the intermission.
The Huskies pulled back in front 30-28 on a Stoll layup with just over six minutes to go in the third quarter and then led 34-33 with 3:10 on the clock. However, another late quarter charge by the Warriors generated a 43-37 lead with 25 seconds left in the third. On the final possession of the quarter, Guy answered Wilson's three-pointer with a trey of her own to bring the Huskies to within three points at 43-40 going into the fourth.
Wayne State maintained the edge until Guy tied the game at 52-52 with 6:24 to go. The Warriors kept the Huskies from slipping back in front and built their largest lead of the game at 64-57 on two Wilson free throws with 1:05 to play.
The Huskies battled back though with Guy, Kelliher, and junior Michelle LaFave leading the charge offensively to tie the game for the ninth time at 69-69. Guy recorded six points, Kelliher notched four, and LaFave dropped in the game tying basket with 13 seconds left. The Warriors regained the lead 70-69 on a free throw, but Tech was unable to score on the ensuing possession which led to a second free throw for Wayne State with two seconds to go, resulting in the 71-69 final.
Guy led all scorers Thursday night with a career high 30 points after firing in 10 of 13 shots from the field, including 7 of 8 makes from behind the three-point arc. Guy's previous career best was 25 points which she has accomplished twice. The most recent came in the second game of the season at Ursuline College on November 11th. Guy surpassed 1,000 career points and joins 23 other Tech players in the 1,000 career point club with 1,014 going into Saturday's game against Davenport.
Stoll had a solid night for the Huskies as well with 16 points followed by LaFave who added 11 points. Kelliher chipped in eight points and led the team with 10 rebounds while sophomore Baillie McGirk dished out a career high seven assists.
As a team, Tech connected on 27 of 63 shots from the field (42.9%), were 8 of 16 from three-point range (50.0%), and 7 of 8 at the free throw line (87.5%). The Huskies also had the edge in rebounding 35-31 over Wayne State.
Nastassja Chambers paced the Warriors with 23 points followed by Wilson with 21 points and six assists. Payton Birchmeier rounded out the double digit scorers for Wayne State with 15 points and a team high seven rebounds. Wayne State closed the game making 23 of 50 shots from the field (46.0%), were 3 of 11 from behind the three-point arc (27.3%), and were 22 of 28 from the free throw line (78.6%).
The Huskies will close the regular season on Saturday when they host Davenport in the SDC at 3 p.m. It will also be Senior Day and following the game, Tech will cut down the nets to recognize the team for this year's GLIAC North Division Championship.