Versatile Huskies defeat Northwood 81-54 thanks to balanced attack

Michigan Tech’s Elizabeth Kelliher drives to the basket against Northwood, Saturday at the Wood Gym. (David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — All season, the Michigan Tech Huskies have received stellar individual performances to shoulder the offense. Those in attendance Saturday at the Wood Gym saw just how good the No. 18 Huskies can be when all of those offensive weapons click at once. 

Tech shot 31 of 57 from the field (54 percent), including 8 of 16 from 3-point range, to go along with another solid defensive effort in an  81-54 GLIAC win over the Northwood Timberwolves at the Wood Gym.

Tech senior Kelli Guy led the way with 15 points, while junior Elizabeth Kelliher and senior Brenna Heise each scored 13. Senior Lindsay Winter recorded nine assists.  

“It’s really fun,” Cameron said of watching her team when they go off. “The fun part is to have them feel success and know what it feels like to play well … They have to be able to love that feeling. To be able to play as well as we’re capable of at home feels really good.”

Heise (37 points), Winter (29), Guy (25) and senior Hannah Stoll (18) have each led the Huskies in points during a game this season. Tech’s versatility to have any number of people be a go-to option is its best characteristic. 

Early on, that was junior forward Elizabeth Kelliher, who dominated the post and scored 10 points in the first quarter on 5 of 7 shot attempts. Coming into Saturday, she hadn’t scored in double digits since a Nov. 16 win over Minnesota State Moorhead. But Northwood (4-2, 1-1 GLIAC) had no answer for her rip throughs and sweeping left hooks off the block.

“We knew (Northwood) was going to be back in the post,” Kelliher said. “I thought the girls did a really good job of getting it in when I had position, and I just made a move from there.”

Three hooks from Kelliher and two 3s from the left wing from Guy gave Tech a 12-2 lead just four minutes into the game. Tech wound up converting 11 of 19 shot attempts for a 26-point first quarter. 

“To have Elizabeth Kelliher start the game on another level, when she looks like that, people aren’t stopping her,” Cameron said of Kelliher. 

Tech continued to pour it on, thanks to its bench that finished with 31 points. Sophomore Hannah Hobson had eight points, while junior Michelle LaFave added seven. 

The outcome was never in doubt after Kelliher and Guy’s initial scoring burst, and the Huskies led 50-31 after the second quarter, with the 50 points setting a season-high for points in a half. 

After surrendering 65.9 points per game the first seven contests of the season, Cameron’s main focus was getting her team to improve on the defensive end. They succeeded on Thursday, holding the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals to 37 points on 11 of 52 shooting. But defensive issues or not, Tech should be expected to limit the offensively challenged Cardinals, who rank last in all the major offensive categories. 

But Saturday’s performance was much more impressive. 

Northwood’s starting backcourt of senior Lindsay Orwat (18.8 points per game) and Maddy Seeley (12.5) were selected to the All-GLIAC South Preseason Team this year. But the athletic duo was never able to develop any sort of rhythm, combining to shoot 5 of 19 from the field. Seeley (3 of 9) led the Timberwolves with 14 points, while Orwat (2 of 10) finished with 10 points. As a team, Northwood shot 14 of 47 (29 percent).

“I think they’re such good offensive players, and our team understood that,” Cameron said of Seeley and Orwat. “Everybody that had the luxury of guarding them, took that job really seriously. 

“The thing with both of those players, you have to do your best with not letting them get going, and to sustain that level defensively for an entire game is pretty tough.”

Next, Tech will head to Grand Valley State (7-1, 2-0 GLIAC) on Thursday before going to Purdue Northwest (1-4, 1-1 GLIAC) on Saturday. 

– – –

Northwood 15 16 17 6 — 54

Tech 26 24 14 17 — 81

Northwood — German 6, L. Orwat 10, Viitala 5, Seeley 14, H. Orwat 2, Herrington 14, Craymer 3. F: 21; Fouled out: Herrington; Free throws: 23-28; Field goals: 14-47; 3-point field goals: 3-12: Viitala, Seeley, Craymer. 

Tech — Stoll 4, Kelliher 13, Guy 15, Winter 5, Heise 13, Botz 4, Jurmu 3, Hobson 8, McGirk 5, Welsh 2, LaFave 7, O’Brien 2. F: 24; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 11-15; 3-point field goals: 8-16: Guy 3, Winter, Heise, Jurmu, Hobson, LaFave.