PAINESVILLE, Ohio – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team powered past Lake Erie Thursday night on the road for a key 71-54 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory. The Huskies started slow, but countered with a strong second half to outscore the Storm by 17 points during the final 20 minutes.
"It was a tough start for us and we were a little disappointed in the first half, but put some things together in the second half," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "Brenna (Heise) was a leader for us in the second half. She really came out and put the team on her shoulders which is what we needed. We needed somebody to do that and she stepped up big for us."
Michigan Tech (5-2, 1-1 GLIAC) struck first on Thursday night when sophomore forward Elizabeth Kelliher connected on a two-point field goal to open the scoring. Lake Erie (2-6, 0-3 GLIAC) countered with the next five points to create a 5-2 edge with just under five minutes to play in the first quarter. The Storm then boosted the gap to 10-4 on a Josie Chaddock bucket at the 3:18 mark of the first period.
The Huskies began to find a bit of a rhythm offensively in the final minutes of the first quarter. Tech engineered a 9-1 scoring burst to close out the first frame and carry a 13-11 edge into the second. A layup by redshirt junior Kelli Guy got things rolling followed by a jumper from freshman guard Baillie McGirk, a layup from sophomore forward Michelle LaFave, and a triple courtesy of senior Morgan Anderson.
Midway through the second quarter, the Huskies boosted their lead to 23-15 after junior guard Lindsay Winter drove to the basket for a layup. However, Lake Erie would not let things get away from them in the second quarter and clawed back to tie the score right before halftime. Sophie Sonnenman got an offensive rebound and put back in the final minute to knot the score at 25-25 midway through the contest.
Both teams traded baskets through the first seven minutes of the third quarter, until a key scoring run by the Huskies turned the tide of the game. With the score deadlocked at 39-39, Tech reeled off nine straight points to go in front for good. Anderson found redshirt junior guard Brenna Heise under the basket with a precision pass for the first two points. Heise then hit a jumper on the baseline and tossed in an additional layup to make it a 45-39 score with 1:41 remaining in the third. Kelliher capped the run with a conventional three-point play.
The Huskies carried a 48-41 advantage into the fourth quarter and continued to build on it over the last 10 minutes. Tech led by double digits for the first time when Guy dialed in a triple to make it 61-49 with 5:18 on the clock. The Storm would get no closer the rest of the way as Guy finished off the scoring with another trey at the 1:08 mark in the fourth quarter, resulting in the final score of 71-54.
Heise guided the Huskies with 22 points and 12 rebounds on Thursday night. It was also the first double-double of the season for Tech. Heise was 10 of 15 from the field and 2 of 3 at the free throw line. She also posted four steals and had a blocked shot. Guy followed Heise with 14 points and Anderson closed the contest with 13 points for the Huskies. Guy paced the team in assists with four and Kelliher picked up three more blocked shots to go along with seven points and seven rebounds. Winter had a solid night off the bench with 11 points, three assists, and two steals.
As a team, the Huskies connected on 29 of 60 shots from the field (48.3%), were 10 of 28 from three-point range (35.7%), and 3 of 4 at the foul line (75.0%). Tech out-rebounded Lake Erie 37-32 and forced 16 turnovers which led to 12 points.
Christine Dawson had 18 points and five rebounds for the Storm followed by Kayla Gabor with 17 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Lake Erie was limited to 18 of 52 shooting from the field (34.6%), they were 1 of 7 from behind the arc, and 17 of 23 at the free throw line.
Michigan Tech will now head to Columbus, Ohio on Saturday for another GLIAC battle with Ohio Dominican.
"Ohio Dominican is a really good team and they have very good post play," Cameron added. "We have to make sure we are at the top of our game in order to have a chance to go 2-0 on the road trip."
Saturday's tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.