No. 17 Tech overwhelms Purdue Northwest 64-38

Michigan Tech’s Brenna Heise drives against Purdue Northwest’s Kaylee Hardy Saturday at the Wood Gym. Heise scored a team-high 23 points. (David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — After mentally and physically challenging wins over rival Northern Michigan and GLIAC contender Grand Valley State, the No. 17 Michigan Tech Huskies deserved a game like this. 

A game where the outcome was never in doubt and one that lacked any high-stress situations. The contest transpired how one would think a matchup between a perennial league power and a newcomer would play out. And while not always pretty, Tech remained in the GLIAC North lead with a 64-38 win over Purdue Northwest Saturday at the Wood Gym. 

Tech senior Brenna Heise led the Huskies with 23 points and is now 51 away from reaching the 1,000-point mark. 

“We played well defensively, and we’re going to roll with that,” Tech coach Kim Cameron said. “Obviously our offense was not clicking very well. That happens sometimes, so you rely on your defense. I’m happy for us and our players for doing that.”

The blowout win still left something to be desired for Tech, especially on the offensive end. The Huskies (18-3, 12-2) turned the ball over 16 times, including 10 in the first half, and made just 4 of 21 attempts from 3. Many of the looks from outside were open, but the second-best 3-point shooting team in the GLIAC (37 percent) coming into Saturday could not convert. 

“After we miss a few, we need to remember how to get to the line,” Cameron said. “We’re not going to tell anybody to stop shooting if they earned that right.

“Kelli Guy needs to keep shooting; Lindsay Winter needs to keep shooting. That’s that. We trust them. Percentages will work themselves out.”

But a mark of great teams usually starts on the defensive end, and being able to rely on its defense on off shooting days has been a luxury for Tech, just as it was Saturday. The Huskies held Purdue Northwest (3-16, 2-12) to 12 of 54 shooting (22 percent), including 2 of 11 from 3. 

The Pride didn’t reach double digits until the final second of the first half when Danielle Nennig scored a layup as Tech led 34-11 at the break. 

“It was really important for us to contest every shot and rebound,” Cameron said. “They’re a really good offensive rebounding team, and I thought we limited that. That bothers them because they rely on a lot of second-chance points because they work hard.”

While allowing no dribble-drives and having timely help-side rotations, Tech didn’t allow the Pride to score in a halfcourt set until a layup with 5:22 left in the second quarter. 

With the jumpers not falling, Heise took it upon herself to attack the basket and not settle from the outside. She made 10 of 13 shots and also had five rebounds and three assists. Freshman Cassidy Trotter scored a career-high 10 points. 

Heise and Trotter each scored layups to end the first quarter, giving Tech an 18-5 lead.

“I was being pushed to get to the rim,” Heise said. “I took a couple outside shots at the beginning of the game, but after that, I looked to attack.”

Next, Tech will travel for its final road trip of the season, Thursday at Saginaw Valley State and Saturday at Northwood. 

– – – 

PNW 5 6 14 13 — 38

Tech 18 16 15 15 — 64

PNW — Michalski 5, Kiser 3, Goodman 3, Rhonehouse 7, Kikendall 6, Vauters 4, Nennig 5, Allen 5. F: 15; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 12-23; 3-point field goals: Rhonehouse, Kiser. 

Tech — Stoll 8, Kelliher 8, Guy 3, Winter 2, Heise 23, Trotter 10, LewAllen 2, Hobson 4, LaFave 2. F: 21; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 6-6; 3-point field goals: Trotter 2, Heise, Guy.