DULUTH, Minn. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team held off the University of Minnesota Duluth for a key 66-57 non-conference victory on the road Wednesday afternoon. The Huskies built a 41-20 advantage at the break and withstood a second half charge from the Bulldogs. Tech is now 7-0 when leading at halftime this season.
"I'm thrilled to get this win today coming off a tough loss to a very good Lewis team on Saturday," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "It was incredible to see the way our girls responded, not only learning from the Lewis game, but also in the way they handled the adversity today and stepped up in the second half when Duluth made their run. We grew a lot as a team and had a number of players rise to the occasion and contribute at key times throughout the course of the contest.
"I think the break comes at a good time for our team to get a little rest before resuming the GLIAC schedule January 3rd. Everyone will get some time at home with family to recharge physically and mentally and be ready to go against Ashland after the Holiday."
Minnesota Duluth (5-3) was clicking offensively at the start of Wednesday's game, firing in the first six points. Ann Simonet knocked down a jumper followed by a pair of free throws from Katie Stark and an additional jumper courtesy of Emma Boehm. Michigan Tech (7-5) broke through at the 7:43 mark of the first quarter on a triple by freshman Ellie Mackay to get the offense rolling and make it a 6-3 score.
Mackay's bucket sparked a 14-2 run by the Huskies that resulted in a 14-8 advantage with 3:30 left in the opening period. Four different players contributed points during that stretch, which was capped by a jumper from junior Abbie Botz. Sammy Kozlowski brought the Bulldogs to within three points again at 16-13 on a layup with just under two minutes remaining on the clock. However, the final moments of the first and majority of the second quarter belonged to Tech.
Botz answered the Kozlowski basket with a mid-range jumper and then Mackay sank a three-pointer a few seconds before the horn sounded to make a 21-13 lead through 10 minutes. The Huskies kept the moment going in the second period on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Tech prevented the Bulldogs from scoring until nearly seven minutes had elapsed off the second quarter clock.
Meanwhile, Botz continued to have the hot hand and kicked off the scoring for the Huskies in the second quarter with one of her seven field goals in the game. Sophomore Cassidy Trotter eventually widened the gap to 34-13 with 3:55 left until the break on a drive to the basket for a layup.
Kozlowksi ended the drought for Minnesota Duluth with a bucket at the 3:28 juncture of the second quarter. Junior Hannah Hobson made sure it didn't spark a run though, answering back for the Huskies with two of her career high 19 points on the afternoon. The Huskies eventually opened up a 41-20 lead at the intermission when Botz connected on a layup during the closing seconds of the second quarter.
The Bulldogs wouldn't go quietly on their home floor and thanks to a 10-0 scoring run to begin the third, they were right back to within striking distance. Sarah Grow found the target on a mid-range jumper to cut UMD's deficit to 41-30 with 6:16 remaining in the third. However, Tech was able to silence the Bulldogs for the time being and pushed the gap back out 19 points at 51-32 on a trey from junior Ellie Welsh at the 2:23 mark.
The Huskies would have to weather another storm as Minnesota Duluth mounted one more attempt to get back in the game. This time the Bulldogs made things a little too close for comfort, drawing to within three points at 57-54 on a Grow layup with 2:55 left in the fourth. Fortunately, the UMD scoring burst would end right there. On the ensuing possession, Mackay hit what would prove to be the key shot in the game, finding the range from three-point land in the left corner off an assist from Trotter. The bucket tilted the momentum back in Tech's favor and sparked a 9-0 run to put the game out of reach for good.
Hobson powered the Huskies attack with a career high 19 points and 10 rebounds on the way to her first double-double. Hobson was on target with 7 of her 12 shots from the field, with three of those makes happening from long distance. Hobson also dished out two assists and blocked one shot in the contest.
Botz followed Hobson with 16 points and eight rebounds, connecting on seven of her eight chances from the floor. Mackay chipped in 12 points courtesy of four three-pointers to round out the double digit scorers for Tech. Trotter tacked on eight points, grabbed five rebounds, and matched a career high eight assists which she established against Purdue Northwest earlier this season.
In terms of team stats, the Huskies were successful on 26 of 53 shots from the field (49.1%), connected on 9 of 21 opportunities from three-point range (42.9%), and converted 5 of 10 looks at the free throw line (50.0%). Tech had 26 points in the paint, dished out 19 assists, and held the lead for the majority of the afternoon.
The Bulldogs had three players reach double digit point totals, led by Kozlowski with 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Grow generated 10 points and a team high 10 rebounds while Simonet tallied 10 points for Minnesota Duluth. The Bulldogs were limited by Tech's defense to a 23 for 73 shooting performance from the field (31.5%). They also made just 5 of 17 attempts from behind the arc (29.4%) and went 6 of 9 at the charity stripe (66.7%).
The Huskies return to action following the Holiday Break when they head to Ohio on January 3rd to face Ashland University. The tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.