Lulls doom Tech women in 68-65 loss to Walsh
HOUGHTON — There was the 3 of 17 shooting in the fourth quarter, and the lack of post touches that forced the Michigan Tech women to launch jumper after jumper Saturday at the Wood Gym.
But head coach Kim Cameron believes her team’s problems in their 68-65 GLIAC loss to the Walsh Cavaliers began much earlier than the late-game struggles in the fourth quarter.
“We relaxed in the last two minutes of the first half. That’s the difference,” Cameron said. “If you think you can relax for one second, or two minutes in the first half, or to start the game, or at any point at all, you’re going to get beat, and that’s exactly what happened to us.
“We have a lesson that’s hard learned because we just got beat on our own floor.”
Senior Morgan Anderson paced Tech with 25 points — one shy of her career-high — while junior Kelli Guy added 19, and junior Brenna Heise had 13.
Tech used a 20-3 run in the first to go ahead 20-8 in the first quarter. The Huskies (4-2, 0-1 GLIAC) maintained its 12-point spread when Heise scored a fast-break layup off a steal to make it 37-25 with 4 minutes, 47 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Then Tech’s demise began.
With the game teetering on the edge of a potential blowout, Walsh (5-3, 1-1 GLIAC) outscored Tech 8-4 to trim its halftime deficit to 41-35. The Huskies shot 2 of 5, and turned it over once, for just four points over the final 4:47.
“We know we’re 100 percent better than this team,” Anderson said. “We just relaxed at the end of the first half. If we do that against anyone in the GLIAC, we’re going to lose.”
And they did. Tech missed its first six shots of the fourth quarter as Walsh jumped out to an 8-0 run to take a 61-56 lead. It wasn’t until a Heise jumper from the baseline with 6:09 left in the quarter did Tech finally break its drought.
The only other two baskets for Tech in the fourth was a 26-foot 3 from the left wing near the GLIAC logo by Anderson, and a desperation 3 from Heise during the final seconds to cut Walsh’s lead to 68-65 with 6.7 seconds remaining.
“I made a mistake because we were out sorts more than I expected, and I should have called a timeout,” Cameron said about the fourth quarter. “Especially the last 2:30, we were taking shots where we were just rushed too much.”
Despite the lax moments and cold shooting, Tech had a chance to send the game to overtime when Heise jumped the sideline inbounds pass to force a jump ball. The possession arrow was in Tech’s favor.
With 4.1 seconds left, Anderson caught the inbounds pass, dribbled hard to the left corner and delivered a cross-court pass to Guy in the right corner. Guy caught and shot, but Walsh junior Brittni Clopton swatted the shot back into the stands.
“I saw (Clopton) coming out on me, but I knew I had to try to get it up quick,” Guy said. “She’s an athletic player and she just got up and made a play.”
Tech finished 23 of 54 from the field. The Huskies’ usual post game with sophomore Elizabeth Kelliher was nonexistent with Walsh fronting her hard and shading help over the top. Kelliher didn’t even register a shot attempt and had just two points on a pair of free throws. She entered averaging 12.6 points per game.
“We have to pass her the ball,” Cameron said about Kelliher. “We can’t be scared to pass the ball in. We turned it over twice trying to get her the ball, and I thought we got a little gun shy, but there’s no reason for her to not have at least touches… You have to have a post touch in order to be successful, so we’ll talk about that.”
Besides the Big Three of Anderson, Guy and Heise, Tech had just eight points from the rest of the team.
It was Guy who ignited Tech’s early rally, converting all three of her 3-point attempts from the left wing in the first quarter. She added another triple from the same spot in the third quarter.
“Within our offense, I find myself there a lot,” Guy said. “When Morgan was driving, they would commit to help, so that was kind of what was open in that half.”
Tech junior guard Lindsay Winter made her season debut after missing the first five games with an injury. Winter connected on a 3 and was a member of a four-guard lineup that saw Heise, Guy and Anderson together, along with Kelliher in the post. Cameron will look to utilize that lineup going forward.
“I think (that lineup) plays together very well. I think having another shooter on the floor is good,” Cameron said. “It’s great to have Lindsay back; she’s really going to help us. She’s getting comfortable, since she hadn’t played yet this year.”
Up next, Tech heads to Lake Erie on Thursday.
Walsh 16 19 18 15 — 68
Tech 23 18 15 9 — 65
Walsh — Clopton 16, Hochstedler 8, Foley 4, Graham 16, Wooten 11, Grober 7, WEstphal 6. F: 12; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 8-11; 3-point field goals: Graham 4, Foley, Grober.
Tech — Kelliher 2, Anderson 25, Guy 19, LewAllen 3, Heise 13, Winter 3. F: 12; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 9-12; 3-point field goals: Guy 5, Anderson 2, LewAllen, Heise, Winter.