Tech falls to Ferris State 67-57 in GLIAC quarters, waits to see if selected for NCAA at-large bid

Michigan Tech’s Elizabeth Kelliher scores a layup against Ferris State’s Brayene Benner during a GLIAC quarterfinal Wednesday at the Wood Gym. (David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — It’s now a waiting game for the No. 20 Michigan Tech Huskies. 

With a 67-57 loss to the Ferris State Bulldogs in the GLIAC quarterfinals Wednesday at the Wood Gym, Tech’s future is now in the hands of the NCAA selection committee. The Huskies were ranked No. 4 in the latest regional rankings, and barring a drop outside the top eight, Tech will earn an at-large bid. 

But for now, Tech will have to wait until this weekend to know its fate. 

“I hope so. I have no idea,” Tech coach Kim Cameron said about if her team did enough to earn an at-large bid. “The problem is we left it in someone else’s hands. That’s a travesty, unfortunately. 

“But I do hope that we did enough work up to this point and have an opportunity to play with this group.”

Michigan Tech's Brenna Heise looks to drive against Ferris State during a GLIAC quarterfinal Wednesday at the Wood Gym. (David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette)

The 57 points are the lowest for Tech at home this season, and the Huskies shot just 33 percent (22-67) — its second-lowest percentage this year. Similar to the last meeting between the two GLIAC North foes, Tech struggled with Ferris State’s full-court pressure as the Bulldogs athleticism on the perimeter kept Tech out of sync for the majority of the night. 

Tech (23-5, 17-3) had just 10 turnovers, but the team was either sped up by the pressure, or by the time the Huskies broke the press and settled into their halfcourt offense, the shot clock was down in the teens. 

“To start the game, we broke the press perfectly,” Cameron said. “But unfortunately, I don’t know if we’re used to making baskets as fast as we were running. We were taking too many quick shots … We talked about that, working it a little bit more and making them have to match up. We weren’t disciplined enough in the first 15 minutes of the game.

“Then in the second half, we didn’t break it as well. We started getting trapped, not being able to get it to the middle and holding it on the reversal, which put us into late shot clock situations.”

Tech trailed 30-25 at halftime after making just 10 of 33 shot attempts. The Huskies best offensive stretch came at the beginning of the third quarter when they scored on four consecutive possessions and made five of their first seven shots of the half for a 12-4 run and a 37-36 lead with 5:09 left in the quarter. 

However, Tech made just one of its eight last shots of the quarter and had two turnovers as Ferris State led 47-40 going into the fourth. 

“It’s hard when we don’t make the plays we have to make to win,” Cameron said. “We faced adversity, cut it to five, then give up an offensive rebound and they would score. Make another run, then give up an offensive rebound or give up a direct drive to the basket.”

Ferris State’s offensive approach was straightforward: feed Rachel McInerney in the post, or allow its agile guards, Leah Humes and Shaniya Huggins, to attack the basket off the dribble. It all added up to 44 points in the paint for the Bulldogs, who finished 27 of 53 from the field (51 percent). Ferris State (15-14, 8-12)  attempted just three 3s on the night, making one. 

Humes led the way with 19 points, while McInerney had 16 points and 14 rebounds and Huggins added 13 points. 

“I actually thought we did a good job on McInerney, but she didn’t need to do what she usually does,” Cameron said. “Their guards were able to get off of our screens and get off into the paint, and they finished some really tough shots. But we weren’t in good enough help (position), and that’s a problem, especially with a team that’s quick enough as them.”

When Tech cut the deficit to four in the fourth quarter, Humes converted a difficult fading jumper off a spin before attacking the basket and finishing a layup on back-to-back possessions to give her team a 56-48 lead with 5:42 left. 

Tech made one final push on a layup by Elizabeth Kelliher and a 3 from Kelli Guy as Ferris State led 61-56 with 1:42 left in the game. But two free throws from Ferris State’s Adrienne Anderson and a turnover by Tech on its next possession sealed the outcome. 

Kelliher led Tech with 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting and had 12 rebounds; she was the only Husky to convert more than half of her shots. 

– – – 

Ferris State 14 16 17 20 — 67

Tech 12 13 15 17 — 57

Ferris State — McInerney 16, George 2, Anderson 4, Humes 19, Huggins 13, Sturm 3, Blair 7, Bush 3. F: 16; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 12-25; 3-point field goals: Humes. 

Tech — Stoll 4, Kelliher 17, Guy 11, LewAllen 2, Heise 10, Trotter 5, Hobson 3, McGirk 1, LaFave 4. F: 16; Fouled out: None; Free throws: 8-12; 3-point field goals: Guy 3, Trotter, Hobson.