Michigan Tech women have sights set high with wealth of experience

Michigan Tech’s Lindsay Winter is one of the team’s top returning scorers from last season. (David Archamebeau/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — It’s not hard to see why the Michigan Tech women’s basketball team was chosen as the GLIAC North favorites and ranked No. 21 in the country. Just look at the roster, as the Huskies return all but one player from last season’s 20-8 team that reached the GLIAC semifinals. 

But the one departure was a key one, with Tech losing its top scorer and the go-to person down the stretch in Morgan Anderson (16 points per game). The Huskies will look for someone to step up and fill her void as the team’s clutch performer.

“It’s been interesting. We worked on situations (in practice) and we had three different people take the game-winning shot,” Tech coach Kim Cameron said. “I think it’s going to depend on matchups and how the game is going.

“Morgan did take a lot of that responsibility, and as old as we are, nobody has really been in that situation, yet. “

Seniors Brenna Heise (11.6), Lindsay Winter (10.6), Kelli Guy (10) were the ones to attempt a game-winning shot in practice. Each person brings a unique ability to make them a late-game option in Tech’s offense. 

“Lindsay provides us with a playmaking ability,” Cameron said. “Brenna’s shot is pure and she’s long and can shoot over people, shoot fadeaways and can get any shot off. And if we get time, Kelli’s going to be our spot-up shooter.

“So we are going to have a lot of options. We’re still going through a lot of those scenarios, so I think it will be a lot of how the game is going. But I would expect those three to step up in those situations.”

Junior forward Elizabeth Kelliher is the fourth Husky to return who averaged double figures (10.0). She will lead Tech’s frontcourt after shooting a team-best 56 percent from the field last season. 

“A lot of our preseason has been on using the post play more so they understand their importance,” Cameron said. “And how them being a part of it opens up our offense. That’s going to be the biggest thing for us going forward is making sure they’re productive.”

In addition to returning four of five starters, the Huskies return 10 players who played in at least 23 games from last year. That type of experience has made for a more seamless transition this preseason. 

“We have moved quicker through things (this preseason camp),” Cameron said. “Your expectations get to a point where you want everything to be perfect. There is still a learning curve, but we’ve been able to implement a couple new things. We’ve practiced at a higher level, but consistency is always a work in progress… We are really stressing communication and understanding that that’s going to be a huge part of our success.”

Unless you feel like taking a road trip, you’re going to have to wait to see the Tech women play in person. The Huskies are away for their first four games — starting with a trip to Pepper Pike, Ohio to face Davis and Elkins tonight before heading to Ursuline on Saturday — until a home date with Minnesota Duluth on Nov. 20. And nine of Tech’s first 12 games come on the road. Plus, three weeks ago, Tech added a matchup at No. 19 Minnesota State Moorhead on Nov. 16 after Moorhead lost a game in Puerto Rico.

“We’re trying to put ourselves in the best place to be successful,” Cameron said of the difficult schedule. “We’re challenging ourselves as much as we can to start the year. If we’re going to do that, we have to meet the challenges. One game at a time and embrace this first part and continue to grow.

“This is such an amazing group of people, and their will to win is something that I understand is very rare and the team gets along very well and I understand how fortunate we are to be able to have that.”