Huskies fall in GLIAC Tournament opener

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The No. 20-ranked Michigan Tech women's basketball team fell 67-57 to Ferris State Wednesday (Feb. 28) night at the SDC Gym in a GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinal matchup.

"It's hard to win when we don't make the plays we need to make," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "We faced adversity and cut their lead to five points a couple of times, but then gave up an offensive rebound or direct drive to the basket which resulted in points. We also allowed too many points in the paint tonight. Ferris State finished plays and did the things they needed to do to win."

Ferris State (15-14) built an early 6-2 lead at the 7:33 mark of the first quarter following a layup by Rachel McInerney. Michigan Tech (23-5) then countered with a 7-0 scoring burst starting on a layup by senior Hannah Stoll. Senior Kelli Guy then gave the Huskies their first lead of the night at 7-6 on a triple before junior Michelle LaFave capped the run with a jumper to make it 9-6 with 4:55 to go in the first period.

Sophomore Hannah Hobson gave the Huskies a three-point lead back at 12-9 with 2:28 on the clock after the Bulldogs had pulled even at 9-9. Ferris State though would close the first quarter with the final five points to lead 14-12 through 10 minutes. The Bulldogs then constructed a 24-18 advantage on a Leah Humes three-point basket at the 6:20 juncture of the second quarter.

The Huskies clawed back to within one point at 24-23 on a Cassidy Trotter triple with just over four minutes left in the half. Trotter then added two free throws with 3:07 remaining in the second to bring Tech back to within one-point again at 26-25 before the Bulldogs posted the last four points of the second on a layup by McInerney and jumper by Alexis Bush. Ferris State carried a 30-25 lead into the halftime break.

Michigan Tech outscored the Bulldogs 10-4 in the opening four minutes of the third quarter to regain the lead at 35-34. Guy, senior Brenna Heise, junior Elizabeth Kelliher, and Stoll provided the scoring for the Huskies during that stretch. The teams then traded baskets until late in the quarter when Ferris State opened up a 45-38 lead on a Shaniya Huggins layup.

Trailing 47-40 to begin the fourth quarter, the Huskies trimmed their deficit down to four points on a few occasions in the final period. Ferris State widened the gap to 61-51 with 2:29 to go, but the Huskies had a quick counter run of 5-0 to bring them back into striking distance at 61-56 on a triple by Guy with 1:42 left. Unfortunately, Tech couldn't generate enough of a surge to overtake the Bulldogs in the final moments of the fourth quarter.

The second-seeded Huskies got 12 rebounds and 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from Elizabeth Kelliher, while Guy (11) and Heise (10) also scored in double figures. For Kelliher, it was her third double-double of the season.  Stoll, Guy, Heise, and sophomore Baillie McGirk each had three assists in Wednesday night's game. As a team, the Huskies were 22 of 67 from the field (32.8%), 5 of 24 from three-point range (20.8%), and 8 of 12 at the free throw line (66.7%).

Humes led the Bulldogs with 19 points followed by McInerney with 16 points and a game high 14 rebounds. Huggins rounded out the double digit scorers for Ferris State with 13 points. The Bulldogs made 27 of 53 shots from the field (50.9%), were 1 of 3 from behind the arc (33.3%), and 12 of 25 at the free throw line (48.0%).

The Huskies will now wait to see if they earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Regional tournament. The tournament field will be announced on Sunday at 10 p.m. by the NCAA.