PREVIEW: Huskies Battle Lewis and William Jewell in GLIAC/GLVC Crossover

Baillie McGirk dribbling the ball

Michigan Tech Game Notes (PDF)
Sat. Nov. 9 • 4 PM at Lewis • Sunday Nov. 10 vs William Jewell 2 PM • Romeoville, Ill.
Michigan Tech (0-0) at Lewis (0-0) and William Jewell (0-0)
Radio: WKMJ Mix 93 FM / WMPL 920 AM
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Michigan Tech is gearing up for the start of the 2019-20 regular season, which begins on Saturday at Lewis University at the GLIAC/GLVC Crossover tournament. The Huskies are coming off another outstanding season in 2018-19 in Head Coach Sam Hoyt's first campaign at Tech. Hoyt guided the Huskies to a 21-9 overall record and a 16-4 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference a year ago. The Huskies claimed their 16th GLIAC North Division/Conference title last season and were the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.

The Huskies return three GLIAC All-Conference players from a year ago. Abbie Botz, a forward from Little Chute, Wisconsin, led the Huskies in both scoring and rebounding during the 2018-19 campaign. Botz averaged 11.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in 30 contests leading to First Team All-Conference honors. Botz was selected to the Preseason All-GLIAC North Division team in October.

Cassidy Trotter, who hails from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, was named Second Team All-GLIAC, GLIAC All-Defensive Team and to the GLIAC All-Tournament Team in 2018-19. Trotter played in all 30 contests a year ago with 29 starts and ranked second on the team in scoring at 10.6 points per game. She paced the Huskies in steals per game (2.6) and in assists per game with 3.6. Trotter joins Botz on this year's Preseason All-GLIAC North Division team.

Ellie Mackay, a guard from Novi, Michigan, made a major impact for the Huskies in her first collegiate season a year ago. She averaged 9.8 points per game and appeared in all 30 contests with 20 starts. Mackay connected on 41.7 percent of her three-point field goals while averaging 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Mackay was the GLIAC Freshman of the Year following the 2018-19 season.

Sloane Zenner, Clara Johnson, Hannah Hobson, Alex Rondorf, Jordan Ludescher, Baillie McGirk, Ellie Welsh, and Michelle LaFave are key returner's and leaders on this year's team as well. In addition, the Huskies will have some new faces on the team this season with five incoming freshman who will look to battle for playing time. Claire Barghahn (White Lake, Mich.), Abby Bretzke (Beulah, Mich.), Sara Dax (Kewaunee, Wis.), Katelyn Meister (Wisconsin Dells, Wis.), and Kylie Mogen (Menomonie, Wis.) are all a part of the 2019-20 incoming class.

Michigan Tech was selected to finish first in the GLIAC North Division this year when the coaches' preseason poll was announced Thursday by the conference office. Tech earned 58 points in the poll along with eight first place votes, edging out Northern Michigan who was picked second with 53 points and four first place votes. Ferris State checked in at the No. 3 spot in the North Division with 40 points followed by Parkside with 32 points (No. 4), Lake Superior State had 19 points (No. 5), and Purdue Northwest was issued 14 points (No. 6). Over in the South Division, Grand Valley State holds the No. 1 spot with 61 points and 11 first place votes followed by Ashland University with 51 points and one first place vote. Northwood checks in at No. 3 with 38 points, Wayne State is fourth with 30 points, Davenport lands in the No. 5 spot with 20 points, and Saginaw Valley State is sixth with 16 points.

The Huskies are receiving votes in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll, announced on Thursday October 21st  by the national office. The Huskies are one of three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams who are in the preseason poll, with Grand Valley State ranked third and Ashland eighth prior to the tip-off of the regular season.

The Huskies have two exhibition games under their belts as they get set to start the 2019-20 regular season on Saturday. Tech fell in game one on the road against a tough NCAA Division I program in Wisconsin-Green Bay 54-41 on October 24 before rolling past Finlandia 98-49 at home on November 1. Junior Baillie McGirk guided the Huskies' attack with 11 points followed by sophomore Ellie Mackay with nine points, four rebounds, and two assists. Senior Hannah Hobson chipped in eight points while senior Abbie Botz posted two points and a team best eight rebounds at Green Bay.

In the win over Finlandia, senior Ellie Welsh powered the Huskies offense with 17 points, connecting on 6 of 6 shots from the field with five of those coming from behind the arc. Mackay closed the contest with 12 points and six rebounds followed by freshman Katelyn Meister with 11 points and six boards. Freshman Sara Dax recorded a double-double thanks to 10 points and 10 rebounds in Friday's win.

Lewis wrapped up the 2018-19 season with an overall record of 27-5 and 16-2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, finishing second behind Drury in the final regular season standings. The Flyers advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Midwest Regional tournament, where they fell to Grand Valley State 72-55. Rachel Hinders is one of the top returners for Lewis this season. Hinders was second on the team in scoring and rebounding last season for the Flyers, firing in 11.2 points per game while hauling down 6.3 boards each time she took the floor. As a team, the Flyers averaged 76.3 points per game and only allowed their opponents to generate 61.2 points per night. They also out-rebounded their opponents on average each game 39.3 to 32.0. Lewis played NCAA Division I Northwestern University in an exhibition game Wednesday night and lost 89-34.

William Jewell was 14-13 overall and 8-10 in the GLVC during the 2018-19 campaign. The Cardinals were strong down the stretch, winning five of their last eight games. William Jewell advanced to the GLVC tournament, losing in the first round to Lewis University 68-57. Kiara Bradley is back this season after posting 13.6 points and a team team best 5.6 rebounds per game. Sydney Offield played in all 27 of William Jewell's games last year and tacked on 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per night. As a team, the Cardinals averaged 66.3 points per game on offense while allowing 65.8 points each time out to opponents. The Cardinals had a slight edge in rebounding at 34.6 to 33.7.

Sam Hoyt was named as the ninth head coach of the Michigan Tech women's basketball program, Director of Athletics Suzanne Sanregret announced Tuesday (May 29, 2018). Hoyt returns to Tech from the University of Sioux Falls where she served as an assistant coach. Hoyt was a standout player for the Huskies, helping lead the program to the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship game as well as garnering multiple individual awards, including All-American Honorable Mention honors. In her first season at Tech (2018-19), Hoyt guided the Huskies to a 21-9 overall record and a 16-4 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Huskies claimed their 16th GLIAC North Division/Conference title last season and were the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.

The Huskies are back on the road next week for three games in the State of Minnesota. Tech plays St. Cloud State on Friday November 15th before battling Minnesota State-Moorhead Saturday November 16th. The Huskies then take Sunday off and close out the road trip at Minnesota State Mankato on Monday November 18th.