BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team notched another Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win Saturday afternoon, this time at Ferris State 67-49. The Huskies outscored the Bulldogs 25-8 in the second quarter to pull away for their eighth consecutive victory.
"It's always tough to get a win on the road in the GLIAC and I'm proud of our players for their effort this afternoon against a good Ferris State team," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "I thought our defense did a great job, especially in the second quarter when we were able to create some separation. Our offense really fed off of the scoring opportunities that our defense created for us and that was awesome to see. We had multiple players step up today with Cassidy [Trotter] getting a career high in points, Abbie and Elizabeth producing double-doubles, and Ellie [Welsh] had an outstanding performance defensively as well as offensively. We'll get back to work this week in practice and prepare to face two more really good teams on the road in Davenport and Grand Valley State."
Michigan Tech (18-7, 14-3 GLIAC) recorded the first two points at the free throw line Saturday afternoon when junior Abbie Botz drew contact on a layup attempt following a steal. Botz converted both of her attempts for a quick 2-0 Huskies lead less than a minute into the action. Ferris State briefly deadlocked the game at 2-2 when Riley Blair cut to the rim for a layup with 8:17 remaining in the first.
The Huskies quickly countered when freshman Sloane Zenner slipped in behind the Ferris State defense for a layup. Sophomore Cassidy Trotter found her open and was credited with the assist on the pass. Defensively, the Huskies generated a stop which led to a triple courtesy of junior Ellie Welsh on the offensive end of the floor. The basket increased the Huskies advantage to 7-2 with 7:17 to go in the opening period.
Tech never trailed from that point forward, although the first quarter was tightly contested all the way to the buzzer. Trotter sent in two of her career high 20 points on a jumper to make it 11-8 at the 1:31 mark, but the Bulldogs got a couple of free throws from Renee Sturm to trim Tech's edge to 11-10 with 10 minutes in the books.
The two sides essentially traded buckets through the first five minutes of the second period, preventing Tech from establishing anything more than a two possession lead. Leading 21-18 with 4:44 to play until the break, the Huskies completely turned the momentum in their favor by reeling off the final 15 points of the half. Senior Elizabeth Kelliher dropped in the first basket on a layup off an assist by junior Abbie Botz.
In order to go on a scoring run, the defense has to fire on all cylinders as well and that's exactly what transpired for the Huskies in the final moments of the second period. With a combination of rebounds on missed shots along with forced turnovers, the defense halted the Ferris State attack and enabled the offense to keep stacking points on the scoreboard.
Trotter had back to back buckets before Welsh found the target from long distance to continue the scoring burst. Trotter went on to post four of the final six points in the stretch with junior Hannah Hobson dealing in a layup as well. Trotter's final field goal came with 12 seconds to go in the half, giving the Huskies a 36-18 advantage going into the locker room at halftime.
Blair opened the third quarter with a basket for Ferris State to make it 36-20, but the Huskies quickly collected the next five points on the way to their largest lead of the day. A Kelliher free throw, Botz layup, and a Trotter mid-range jumper were the catalyst for a 41-20 Tech advantage with 8:16 left in the third.
The Bulldogs could get no closer than 15 points the rest of the way, although the two teams matched each other point for point in the final two quarters. The Huskies kept their 18-point halftime cushion intact when senior Isabella O'Brien cashed in the final two points of the game for Tech, resulting in the 67-49 final score.
Four Tech players recorded 12 or more points in Saturday's game, led by Trotter with a career high 20 points. Her previous career high of 18 points ironically was set against Ferris State in the first meeting of the season between the two clubs on January 10th in Houghton. Trotter also added two rebounds, four assists, and two steals to the stat sheet.
Botz and Kelliher each fired in 12 points and collected double-doubles with 12 and 11 rebounds respectively. Botz finished the day with three assists, two steals and a pair of blocked shots. Welsh chipped in 13 points and on defensive limited Ferris State's top player Alexis Bush to just one point. Welsh had four steals to go along with two assists and two rebounds.
As a team, the Huskies were successful on 25 of 56 shots from the field (44.6%), were 4 for 17 from three-point range (23.5%), and 13 of 16 at the free throw line (81.3%). The Huskies out-rebounded Ferris State 40-31 and scored 40 points in the paint.
Blair had 17 points to pace the Bulldogs Saturday followed by Brayene Benner with 12 pints and a team high eight rebounds. Shaniya Huggins chipped in four points and distributed a team best four assists. Tech's defense held the Bulldogs' offense to an 18 for 57 shooting effort from the floor (31.6%), including an 0 for 17 clip from behind the arc. Ferris State ended up converting 13 of 18 chances at the free throw line (72.2%).
The Huskies will be back on the road Thursday night for a GLIAC battle at Davenport University before traveling to Grand Valley State Saturday. The Huskies kicked off their current winning streak with a 70-44 decision at home against the Panthers on January 19th in Houghton. Thursday's tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. eastern time.