ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – The Michigan Tech women's basketball team suffered a tough 75-71 loss to William Jewell on Sunday at the GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament hosted by Lewis University. The Huskies wrapped up the weekend 1-1 after securing a 73-63 win over Lewis in the 2019-20 season opener Saturday afternoon.
"Give credit to William Jewell today," Michigan Tech Head Coach Sam Hoyt said. "They came ready to play and we didn't defend like we are capable of. It's tough to win if we aren't able to defend effectively. We'll go back to work this week in practice and get ready to face three more tough opponents in St. Cloud State, Minnesota State-Moorhead and Minnesota State next weekend."
Michigan Tech (1-1) put together a strong first quarter and through 10 minutes the Huskies were able to establish a double-digit lead at 19-9. The first two minutes were scoreless until senior Hannah Hobson broke through at the free throw line for the Huskies to make it a 1-0 score. Rhyann Fisher of William Jewell (1-1) tied the game at 1-1 with 6:57 to play in the first quarter before the Huskies began to settle in a little more offensively.
Sophomore Ellie Mackay produced the first field goal of the game when she drove to the basket for a layup with 6:38 left in the first period. Junior Baillie McGirk tacked on two more free throws at the 5:25 mark and at that point Tech owned a 5-1 lead. Still leading 11-9 with just under three minutes to play in the first, Tech proceeded to go on an 8-0 scoring run to end the quarter. Senior Abbie Botz, sophomore Cassidy Trotter, sophomore Sloane Zenner, and Mackay all contributed points for the Huskies on the scoreboard.
The Huskies were able to maintain the lead throughout the second quarter, although the Cardinals began to draw within striking distance. Tech extended the gap to 14 points at 25-11 on a triple by Botz with 6:46 to play until the break, but over the next five minutes William Jewell sliced it down to a one-point game at 33-32 on two Macyn Wilbers free throws with 1:25 remaining in the second period. Freshman Sara Dax hit a midrange jumper to slow the Cardinals momentum a bit right before the intermission and give Tech a 35-32 lead.
The game stayed close for the majority of the third period, with Tech holding no more than a five-point lead. The Cardinals tied the game twice, but each time the Huskies had an answer to stay on top. Leading 48-47 with just over three minutes to play in the third, senior Ellie Welsh ignited an 11-2 Tech run with a pair of free throws. Key points were produced by Dax and Trotter as well with McGirk capping the run with a field goal right before the buzzer to make it a 59-49 score.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals were able to counter with a strong fourth period to overtake the Huskies Sunday afternoon. William Jewell outscored Tech 26-12 in the final 10 minutes and captured the lead at 62-60 on a Kiara Bradley layup at the 6:33 mark. The Huskies trailed 73-67 with 1:13 left and attempted to make a last-minute push to get back in it. McGirk hit two free throws and cashed in a layup following a Cardinals turnover. However, the layup would prove to be the final points of the game for Tech. Fisher sealed the win for William Jewell at the free throw line with three seconds to play in the final quarter.
McGirk powered the Huskies' offense with 15 points on a 5 of 8 shooting performance from the field Sunday. She also had two steals on defense and three rebounds on the game. Botz closed out the contest with 13 points and secured a team high seven rebounds while Mackay chipped in 10 points off the bench. Trotter and Zenner both recorded nine points with Trotter leading the team in assists with four. As a team, the Huskies connected on 24 of 61 shots from the field (39.3%), were 8 of 23 from three-point range (34.8%), and 15 of 22 from the free throw line (68.2%).
Bradley paced the Cardinals with 15 points followed by Wilbers and Offield with 13 points apiece. Rachel Schon generated four points and had a game high 11 rebounds in just 18 minutes on the court. William Jewell closed the game hitting 27 of 56 shots from the field (48.2%), were 6 of 13 from behind the arc (46.2%), and were 15 for 19 from the free throw line (78.9%).
The Huskies will look to bounce back on Friday night when they face St. Cloud State in Moorhead, Minnesota followed by a battle with Minnesota State-Moorhead on Saturday evening. Friday's tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. eastern time.