EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team fell on the road to a solid University of Southern Indiana team Sunday afternoon 80-65 on day two of the USI Thanksgiving Classic. The Huskies matched the Screaming Eagles step for step in the opening half, but Southern Indiana began to shift the momentum late in the second and third quarters.
"I thought our girls played really hard today," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "We brought energy and competed against a very good Southern Indiana team, but ultimately we gave up too many easy baskets on turnovers. It was nice to see balanced scoring from our team. We'll learn and grow a lot from this road trip going into conference play this week."
Michigan Tech (3-3) faced an early deficit Sunday afternoon as Southern Indiana (6-1) strung together the first six points of the contest. Imani Guy had all three buckets in the opening stretch for the Screaming Eagles. Junior Abbie Botz put the Huskies on the board with a three-point basket with just under seven minutes to go in the first quarter to make it a 6-3 score.
Trailing 7-3 with less than six minutes to play in the first, the Huskies engineered a 9-0 run to storm in front for the first time. Freshman Jordan Ludescher got the run going with a two-point jumper and then junior Hannah Hobson tied the contest at 7-7 on a mid-range jumper of her own. Sophomore Cassidy Trotter gave Tech a 9-7 lead on a layup and then Hobson capped the run by dialing in a three-point basket to make the score 12-7 with 2:25 remaining on the first quarter clock.
Southern Indiana countered with six straight points to retake the advantage 13-12 with 47 seconds left, as points five and six were produced by a pair of Kennedy Williams free throw makes. Five seconds later, Ludescher sent Tech back on top 14-13 with a layup off an assist from freshman Sloane Zenner, and from there the two sides traded points in the final moments of the quarter. Freshman Ellie Mackay gave the Huskies a 17-15 lead with 14 seconds left in the first, but right before the buzzer sounded Southern Indiana's Ashley Johnson deadlocked the score at 17-17 going into quarter number two.
The Huskies briefly slipped in front again 19-17 to open the second on a layup by junior Ellie Welsh. Alex Davidson gave the Screaming Eagles the lead back with a triple on the ensuing possession and from that point forward Southern Indiana would remain on top. The Huskies stayed within striking distance though and never trailed by more than two possessions until late in the second quarter.
After falling behind 38-30 with 3:06 to go in the half, senior Elizabeth Kelliher drew Tech to within six points again at 38-32 on a layup at the 2:43 mark. However, the Screaming Eagles defense shutout the Huskies on offense from that point forward until the break while adding four points of their own to take a 42-32 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Welsh knocked down a three-point basket for the Huskies to start the third quarter, slicing the gap down to 42-35. Southern Indiana managed to rebuild a double digit lead at 47-37 on a Davidson three-pointer and would go up by as many as 15 points midway through the third period. The Huskies made a run though to draw back within seven points at 55-48, thanks to a Hobson three-point bucket and layup with 1:52 left on the clock.
Southern Indiana weathered the storm and on a Guy layup in the final minute of the third took a 61-50 advantage into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, the Huskies were unable to make any further dents in the deficit in the final period as Southern Indiana held on for the win.
Hobson led the Huskies with a season and career high 17 points followed by Mackay with a season best 11 points. Mackay was 4 of 6 from the field and made good on all three of her opportunities from behind the three-point arc. Kelliher and Botz rounded out the double digit scorers in Sunday's game with 10 points apiece. Kelliher had a team high eight rebounds and two blocked shots, tying the Michigan Tech career record for blocked shots with 197. The record is currently shared with Danielle Blake who had 197 from 2012-16.
In team numbers, the Huskies made 24 of 56 total attempts from the field (42.9%), were 9 for 23 from three-point land (39.1%), and 8 of 10 at the free throw line (80.0%). Tech combined to dish out 17 assists with four different players having three apiece.
Guy had a game high 25 points to power Southern Indiana followed by Davidson with 17 points and Johnson with 12 points. Kacy Eschweiler led the team on the glass with eight rebounds while chipping in eight points and three assists.
As a team, the Screaming Eagles converted 27 of 56 shots from the field (48.2%) dialed in 4 of 14 attempts from long distance (28.6%), and connected on 22 of 33 chances at the free throw line (66.7%). USI had slight edge in rebounding at 35-32 and forced 22 turnovers which led to 19 points.
The Huskies will look to bounce back Thursday night when they head to Saginaw Valley State University for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener. The tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.