KENOSHA, Wis. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team engineered another strong fourth quarter to secure win number four in a row with a 60-47 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference decision at Parkside Saturday afternoon. The Huskies outpaced the Rangers 18-9 in the final period and recorded 30 points in the paint on the way to the victory.
"We started off a little slow in the first half and I thought we panicked a little bit when they applied pressure," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "In the second half, we played with more composure and only had six turnovers in the final 20 minutes, which I think was the difference in the game. That enabled us to get good quality shots and I thought the way we finished the third quarter and started the fourth gave us the momentum and was a game changer."
Michigan Tech (14-7, 10-3 GLIAC) got on the board first when senior Elizabeth Kelliher worked her way into the paint for the opening basket. Junior Abbie Botz was credited with the assist on the play 55 seconds into the contest. Parkside (8-11, 6-7 GLIAC) quickly gained some of the momentum on the strength of a 7-0 scoring run. A pair of Ali Bettencourt free throws with 4:48 to go in the first quarter gave the Rangers a five-point edge.
Trailing 9-4 with just under four minutes to play in the first, the Huskies reeled off seven consecutive points of their own to slip back in front 11-9. Kelliher connected on a triple followed by two free throws and a layup from sophomore Cassidy Trotter. The Rangers briefly tied the game prior to Tech generating the final four points of the period. Kelliher cashed in a layup and freshman Ellie Mackay converted twice at the free throw line to make it a 15-11 Huskies lead through 10 minutes.
The scoring burst for Tech continued rolling into the second quarter on back to back field goals courtesy of Kelliher and Mackay. Botz then sighted in a three-point basket to cap the run and extend Tech's advantage to 22-11 with 8:25 remaining in the second quarter. However, the Rangers were able to keep themselves in contention over the next three minutes, chopping the deficit down to two points at 24-22 on a free throw by Alisha Murphy at the 5:06 mark.
From there, the two clubs traded baskets until the end of the half. Junior Hannah Hobson kept Tech's original four-point lead intact at 28-24 on a jumper with 1:18 to play until the break. Neither side posted points again before the buzzer sounded and the Huskies kept the edge going into the locker room at the intermission.
The back and forth pattern continued for the majority of the third quarter, with Parkside briefly moving back in front 35-34 at the 5:30 mark on a three pointer from Georgie Eishold. With the game deadlocked at 38-38 late in the quarter, the Huskies began to turn the tide in Saturday's game. Mackay sent Tech added 40-38 on two free throws with 1:05 on the clock and closed the period with a successful jumper right before the horn.
Leading 42-38, the Huskies got the ball to start the fourth and in the opening minute Mackay added four more points to the stat sheet. Trotter increased the gap to double digits again at 48-38 and then Mackay cut to the basket for a layup to make it 50-38 with slightly under eight minutes to play in the game. The Rangers could get no closer than nine points the rest of the way. The Huskies eventually created their largest lead of the day at 60-42 on a pair of Trotter free throws with 2:29 left.
Kelliher, Mackay, and Trotter each powered the Michigan Tech offensive attack on Saturday with 17 points apiece. The trio of Huskies combined to convert on 19 of 31 shots from the field. Kelliher added seven rebounds and four blocked shots, Mackay dished out two assists and had two steals, and Trotter delivered a team best four assists on the afternoon. Botz chipped in five points while grabbing a game high 13 rebounds.
As a team, the Huskies found the target on 23 of 46 shots from the field (50.0%), were 3 for 11 from three-point range (27.3%), and 11 of 18 at the charity stripe (61.1%). Tech had the edge in rebounding at 35-31, produced 30 points in the paint, and collected 16 points off of 17 Parkside miscues.
Carolina Rahkonen guided the Rangers offense with 17 points followed by Bettencourt with 10 points in Saturday's game. Rahkonen shared the team lead in rebounds with Alyssa Nelson as each player reeled in five boards. Blair Arthur closed the afternoon with a game high five assists. The Rangers were limited by the Huskies defense to a 16 for 56 shooting performance from the field (28.6%), were 7 of 26 from behind the arc (26.9%), and 8 for 10 at the free throw line (80.0%).
The Huskies return home for Winter Carnival Weekend beginning Thursday night at home against Northwood University. Tech won the first meeting of the season at Northwood 78-68 on December 1st. Thursday's tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. eastern time.