HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Thursday night with a 59-37 victory over Saginaw Valley State University in the SDC Wood Gym. The Huskies set the tone defensively in the first quarter, limiting the Cardinals to four points while permitting just 11 successful field goals during the 40 minutes.
"I'm really happy with our defensive effort tonight," Michigan Tech Head Coach Kim Cameron said. "When we are not shooting well, especially from three-point range, it's important to make sure that nobody goes on any offensive runs against us. We've talked about getting consecutive stops and making sure that if we don't score, they don't score.
"We are working on focusing on one stop at a time and one score, and I thought we did a good job of paying attention to that tonight. We set the tone in the first quarter by holding them to four points. I'm proud of our team for doing that because defense was our emphasis all week and we were able to do it well."
Michigan Tech (7-1, 1-0 GLIAC) never trailed on Thursday night although it took both offenses some time to get going in the first quarter. The Huskies struck for the first two points of the night on a layup by senior Kelli Guy at the 6:47 mark of the quarter. Senior Brenna Heise then gave Tech a two possession advantage at 4-0 on a jumper less than a minute later.
Saginaw Valley State (0-7, 0-1 GLIAC) generated its first points of the night on a layup by Anna Hall with 5:38 to play in the first. Michigan Tech went on to score six of the final eight points in the quarter, culminating on a Heise layup that gave the Huskies a 10-4 edge going into the second period.
Michigan Tech began to create some separation in the second quarter thanks to a 13-4 scoring run to get things rolling. Hannah Settingsgaard dropped in the first two points of the quarter for the Cardinals, but then it was all Tech during the next four and a half minutes. Senior Lindsay Winter drove to the bucket for a layup to open the run followed by a pair of field goals from senior Hannah Stoll.
Winter, Heise, and sophomore Baillie McGirk combined for the next seven points to extend the Huskies' advantage into double digits for the first time at 23-10 with 4:30 left in the second quarter. McGirk came up with a big steal to help setup up a triple by Heise and a blocked shot and defensive rebound from sophomore Hannah Hobson helped lead to Winter's layup.
Michigan Tech created a 25-16 gap by the time the buzzer sounded ending the second quarter. The Huskies, who changed the complexion of the contest Saturday at Concordia St. Paul in the third quarter, repeated the feat Thursday against the Cardinals. Tech pulled away from SVSU by reeling off 19 of the 26 total points in the period.
The Cardinals got a triple from Laurel Jacqmain to begin the second half and draw within six points at 25-19. However, the Huskies would post 13 unanswered points over a five-minute span to take control of the game. Winter found junior Elizabeth Kelliher with a pass into the paint for a layup followed by a trey from Heise. Defensively, Kelliher blocked a key shot and Heise came up with a steal during the 13-0 stretch which culminated on a jumper from Stoll, making it a 38-19 score with just over four minutes to play in the third.
The Huskies led 44-23 after three quarters and went up by as many as 24 points twice during the fourth period. Hobson sank two free throws with 6:05 to go in the fourth, which bumped the lead to 49-25, and from there the Cardinals could get no closer than 18 points the rest of the way.
Heise powered the Huskies with 20 points and eight rebounds Thursday night as she was on target with 9 of 14 shots from the field. Stoll followed with 10 points thanks to a 5 of 8 shooting night from the field. Winter chipped in eight points and three assists along with freshman Cassidy Trotter who tossed in eight points as well. Kelliher had four points, five rebounds, and added four more blocked shots to her season totals, giving her 19 on the year.
As a team, the Huskies connected on 25 of 53 shots from the field (47.2%), were 2 of 11 from three-point range (18.2%), and 7 of 9 at the free throw line (77.8%). Tech also had a slight rebounding edge at 38-36 and registered eight more blocked shots.
Jacqmain had a team high 12 points for the Cardinals while Kierra Crockett hauled down six rebounds. Tech's defense limited Saginaw Valley State to just 11 successful shots from the field out of 52 attempts (21.2%) and forced 14 turnovers which led to 13 points.
The Huskies will be back in action on Saturday when they host Northwood in another GLIAC contest in the SDC. The Timberwolves got past Northern Michigan Thursday night 64-56. Saturday's tip-off is slated for 1 p.m.