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Michigan Tech (Women) 90, Concordia-St. Paul 80

November 12, 2012 - Michael Bleach
HOUGHTON — In the halls of Michigan Tech's Student Development Center, there hangs a host of pictures dedicated to past Husky All-Americans.

Tech greats Katie Wysocky, Lucy Dernovsek and Andrea Novak adorn the walkway to the gym, among several others.

If Sam Hoyt continues to play the way she did Saturday night against Concordia-St. Paul, the senior point guard will soon add her likeness to that group.

Hoyt kicked off the opener for her final season as a Husky with the ultimate point guard performance, leading Tech to a 90-80 victory thanks to 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists (against just one turnover).

It was the first triple-double in Michigan Tech history from a man or woman.

"That is what I have been told, but I don't really believe it," Hoyt responded when asked about her triple-double. "No one has done it before? I just don't even know. But it's awesome."

"I'm really proud of her that she will now forever be in the Michigan Tech record books," Tech coach Kim Cameron added. "She is the heart of our team and this just shows that everything she does makes someone else better or she is doing it herself. She is one of a kind."

Hoyt was given the chance to rack up assists and points as Cameron placed the ball in her hands with an almost exclusive pick-and-roll/pop offense.

With pick-partner Taylor Stippel, Hoyt would start most possessions with the ball on either wing before driving middle. From there, the defense dictated which move she would make. Either Hoyt would be given a free lane (doubtful) or Stippel would pop open to the corner as the C-SP defender slid with Hoyt.

Tech opened with six points on the first three possessions of the contest after the junior forward knocked down a pair of baseline jumpers — sandwiched between a Hoyt lay up — on her way to a team high 22 points (11-of-25 shooting).

"We worked on that all week in practice because we knew how they were going to defend the ball screen," Hoyt said. "They were going to drag and the post was going to stay with me. So we knew Taylor was going to be wide open and she has a great mid range shot. All day."

Eventually, Concordia mixed up their ball-screen strategy, sending opposite-perimeter defenders to cut Hoyt off.

But that just led to open three-pointers for Jillian Ritchie (2-for-3), Emma Veach (3-for-4) and freshman MacKenzie Perttu (2-for-3). The trio combined for 32 points on 16 shots and the team knocked down 10-of-19 triples total.

"We are just really lucky to have her," Stippel said. "She makes everyone better."

Hoyt's 10th and final assist came with 1:24 left in the game when she found Veach open on the wing in just that fashion.

Besides connecting on a historic swish for the Tech record books, Veach also gave the Huskies a 14-point lead, essentially icing the victory.

"Thank you Emma!" Hoyt said. "Seriously though, I have to thank my teammates because Taylor was hitting all her shots, Emma was, whenever I passed it out they were hitting it. That is all them."

The 90 points scored were more than any game Tech played last year, and the first they hit 90 since Jan. 21, 2010. In the fast paced game, Tech averaged 1.22 points per possession (anything over 1.2 is considered elite).

"I'd say this year our offense is more versatile," Hoyt said. "Everyone can attack, almost everyone can shoot outside. We have a lot of people who can do a lot of things."

Last year, in missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five seasons, a major culprit for the lessened success was an offense run without an identity for much of the season.

It wasn't until the second half of the schedule that Hoyt and Cameron struck on the right balance for the point guard between scorer and distributor.

There would appear to be no such issues this season.

"Somebody is going to have to make an adjustment when Sam Hoyt comes off a screen and if that creates a three-pointer on the other end of the floor she will get them the ball, or if it is Taylor in the corner or (Sam) can drive herself. But she is in charge," Cameron said. "And that's perfect."

Of course — as Cameron vehemently pointed out — Hoyt's triple-double was only possible as Concordia scored enough points to keep the lead within striking distance.

Tech actually trailed 44-38 at halftime, and the smaller Huskies lineup occasionally got bullied around the hoop. Six-foot-two forward Anika Whiting poured in 16 points on 50 percent shooting, while three-point specialist Carissa Wolyniec tallied 23 on 5-of-15 attempts from the beyond the arc.

"I don't want to get away from the bottom line though, and that's that we gave up 80 points," Cameron said. "That is not what our philosophy is. It is all good in a win and I'm sure the fans enjoyed it, but for us, we have to get back to business."



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