Scoring balance keys No. 16 Tech

Michigan Tech’s Brenna Heise was named the GLIAC North Player of the Week for the second time this season. Tech heads to Saginaw Valley State on Thursday before going to Northwood on Saturday. (David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — Kim Cameron admits even she doesn’t know who will shoulder the offensive load for the No. 16 Michigan Tech Huskies on a given night.

“You don’t predict who’s going to play well. It’s just a surprise every night,” she said.

Trying to assume who will lead Tech in scoring is the equivalent to playing Russian Roulette. All five starters average at least 9 points per game, while junior Michelle LaFave comes off the bench and averages 7.2 points per contest. 

Senior Brenna Heise, who was named the GLIAC North Player of the Week, leads the way at 12.5 points per game while senior Lindsey Winter (11.8), senior Kelli Guy (11), junior Elizabeth Kelliher (9.5) and senior Hannah Stoll (9.2) make up the rest of Tech’s versatile lineup.

“It’s been different people on the weekend, and it’s been different people from the first quarter to second quarter, third and fourth quarter,” Cameron said. “I guess it’s maybe the different kinds of leadership we have. The will to win and get it done.

“Elizabeth is maturing as a player and understanding when and what she can do. Brenna is a player that steps up when we need her. Lindsey (Winter) steps up when need her, and Kelli (Guy) is extremely consistent, and Michelle has played her role very well and Hannah is a tough matchup for anyone.”

Having multiple go-to options has led Tech to an 18-3 start and the GLIAC North lead. The Huskies will look to continue their success on their final road trip of the season, starting Thursday at Saginaw Valley State (5-16, 5-9) before heading to Northwood (13-7, 9-5) on Saturday. 

During this past weekend, it was Heise’s turn to pace the offense. She averaged 19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and shot 55 percent in Tech’s wins over Grand Valley State and Purdue Northwest. 

“As the season has gone on, we’ve continued to improve,” Cameron said. “That allows our offense to step up in different games. Last weekend was Brenna, two weeks ago it was our post play and to start the year it was our guards. I think as we develop our post game, it can be both. It’s always a work in progress, but it’s a work to complete our offense game. 

“But when the going gets tough, we need people to step up and Brenna is a perfect person to be in that role.”

Tech’s been just as good on defense this season, surrendering the third-least amount of points per game (59.8) in the GLIAC. But the team has been even better over the last six games, allowing just 49 points per contest. 

“I think a huge part of the defense has been Elizabeth Kelliher inside as a rim protector,” Cameron said. “I think she’s also done a great job on the opposing teams’ post players, as well as affecting shots inside from the guards if we get beat. She learned how to stay in the game and out of foul trouble, and it has affected us positively.”

The Huskies defense locked down both SVSU and Northwood during the first matchups of the season. Tech defeated SVSU 59-37 on Nov. 30 and Northwood 81-54 on Dec. 2.

“With the Saginaw game, they were and are very young,” Cameron said. “Since the last time we’ve played them, they’re very much improved. They have freshmen starting who play major minutes and are really coming along. They’re just that much better. As far as that goes, Saginaw is just a different and overall better team.

“Northwood is scary because they’re such good shooters. The first time we played them, we were able to limit their shots and makes from 3. That’s a huge part of their game. If we can take that away, we give ourselves a chance, and that’s what we did the first time. Obviously, it’s an entirely different story when they’re at home, so we have to go in with that same mentality to take away their perimeter.”