HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team suffered the first loss of the 2018-19 season Sunday afternoon in overtime to Minnesota State 72-68 in the SDC Wood Gym. The Huskies trailed for a good portion of the contest, but rallied in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. Unfortunately, four quick points by the Mavericks to start the extra frame was a catalyst that led to the final outcome.
"Today's game really came down to our defense," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "I think especially during that first quarter; we weren't ready to go. We struggled to execute defensively and once you have a slow start like that, it's hard to get the momentum to change.
"We have to put this one behind us as we have two more tough games coming up next weekend against Bellarmine and Southern Indiana. They are really good programs that are well coached and have solid post players. They will be similar to what we saw this weekend and we'll have to come ready to go. It would have been nice going into it 4-0, but at the same time, I think there are things that you can learn from this game that are going to be beneficial moving forward."
Michigan Tech (3-1) struck first Sunday when junior Ellie Welsh connected on a layup off an assist by sophomore Cassidy Trotter, roughly 45 seconds into the first period. Minnesota State (2-1) though would answer with six straight points to go up 6-2 following a jumper by Taylor Drost at the 5:58 mark.
Freshman Jordan Ludescher slowed the Mavericks momentum on a pair of free throw conversions to make it a two-point game at 6-4 with 5:32 on the clock. However, Minnesota State would log the next five points on the way to the largest lead of the day for either side at 11-4. Tayla Stuttley found the distance from three-point range to cap the mini run with 3:53 to play in the first.
The Huskies kept things close though and were right back within two points again at 11-9 thanks to a triple by freshman Ellie Mackay with just over three minutes to go in the first. With 1:26 remaining on the clock, junior Abbie Botz cut Tech's deficit to one at 17-16 on a layup, but the Mavericks went on to close the first period with a 22-18 lead following a layup at the buzzer by Maddy Olson.
The back and forth pattern continued throughout the second quarter with the Huskies trailing by as many as six points before storming back to regain the advantage with just over two minutes to play until halftime. Botz hauled down an offensive rebound and cashed in a layup to give Tech a 32-31 lead. The rebound was one of a career high 17 for Botz, which was also just short of the single game school record of 20 set by Darla Innes back in 1992.
The Huskies lead unfortunately was short lived as Rylee Menster answered with a layup on the ensuing possession. The Mavericks went up again by four points at 36-32 before Ludescher sank two free throws for Tech right before the break to make the score 36-34.
In the third quarter, the Huskies slipped in front again 43-41 with just over six minutes to go on a triple by Trotter. The Mavericks countered with pair of treys of their own by Drost and suddenly they were up 47-43 again with 3:30 on the clock. The Huskies closed the quarter on a layup from senior Elizabeth Kelliher to bring the deficit back down to 49-48 going into the fourth.
Tech pulled back ahead at the start of fourth on a Kelliher layup, Botz jumper and a triple by Welsh, which created a 55-51 score. The Huskies maintained the lead until Olson knotted the game at 57-57 on two free throws with 5:40 to go in the final period. The Mavericks then took advantage of a Tech turnover as Monica Muth connected on a triple to make it a 60-57 score with 4:18 to go. Tech clawed back in front again 64-62 on a Kelliher layup with 2:01 left, but an Olson jumper tied things up at 64 apiece with 1:44 to play in regulation. Both offenses went cold from there and the score remained unchanged going into overtime.
The Mavericks set the tone for overtime by quickly recording the first two buckets of the extra frame. Drost delivered two more layups for the Mavericks who built a 68-64 edge. The Huskies rallied again to within one at 69-68 on a Kelliher layup with 1:54 left, but unfortunately those would be the final points of the afternoon for the Huskies. A jumper by the Mavericks Kirstin Klitzke and a free throw from Rylee Menster sealed the win. The Huskies had a couple chances to tie it up in the final 30 seconds, but the shots just didn't fall.
Botz powered the Huskies with 16 points and her career high 17 rebounds in Sunday afternoon's game. Kelliher followed with 15 points, hauled down nine rebounds, and blocked four shots while Ludescher chipped in 12 points to round out the double digit scorers. Trotter had three assists and five steals to go along with seven points.
The Huskies connected on 26 of 65 shots from the field (40.0%), were 4 of 15 from three-point range (26.7%), and 12 of 15 at the free throw line (80.0%). Tech out-rebounded the Mavericks 43-40 and forced 19 turnovers which led to 15 points.
Drost guided the Mavericks with 21 points and five rebounds followed by Muth with 14 points, four assists, and six rebounds. Tayla Stuttley tossed in 13 points and Olson reached double digit point totals with 10. Minnesota State was 25 of 66 from the field (37.9%), were 9 of 22 from three-point range (40.9%), and 13 of 18 at the charity stripe (72.2%).
The Huskies travel to the University of Southern Indiana for Thanksgiving weekend, beginning with a showdown against Bellarmine Saturday at 1 p.m. Tech will then battle Southern Indiana Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.